Friday

19th Apr 2019

EU monitoring Cyprus passport sales

  • Cyprus was already a hotspot for Russian tourists and investors (Photo: Marco Fieber)

The European Commission has said it is in a "dialogue" with Cyprus amid concerns on loopholes in its passport sale scheme.

A Commission spokesman said on Monday (18 September) that the EU executive started the talks in 2014 to make sure that a "genuine link" existed between buyers of Cypriot passports and the island state.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

"As a result of this dialogue, Cyprus revised their [passport sale] law in late 2016", but the "dialogue remains ongoing," he said.

He noted that issuing passports was a national competence.

But he added that since obtaining a passport from any one of the 28 EU states entailed getting rights, such as freedom of movement or capital, in all the others "member states should use their prerogative to award or withdraw citizenship in a spirit of sincere cooperation".

He also said it was a "principle in international law" that passport applicants should have such a "genuine link" to their new host state.

The Cypriot passport scheme requires people to visit the country at least once every seven years and to invest at least €2 million in real estate or €2.5 million in Cypriot stocks or bonds.

There is no language or residency requirement.

According to The Guardian, a British newspaper, Cyprus has raised over €4 billion via the scheme since 2013 and sold more than 400 passports last year.

It said, citing internal Cypriot documents, that several passports were sold last year to Russian and Ukrainian oligarchs with a sensitive political profile.

The Cypriot finance ministry told The Guardian it carried out anti-money laundering type checks on applicants.

It said the scheme was for "genuine investors, who establish a business base and acquire a permanent residence in Cyprus".

It also said other EU states had similar programmes.

It did not name them, but Hungary, Malta, and Portugal, among others, also have similar schemes.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  2. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  3. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  4. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  5. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersLeading Nordic candidates go head-to-head in EU election debate
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Secretary General: Nordic co-operation must benefit everybody
  9. Platform for Peace and JusticeMEP Kati Piri: “Our red line on Turkey has been crossed”
  10. UNICEF2018 deadliest year yet for children in Syria as war enters 9th year
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic commitment to driving global gender equality
  12. International Partnership for Human RightsMeet your defender: Rasul Jafarov leading human rights defender from Azerbaijan

Latest News

  1. Romania drafts EU code on NGO migrant rescues
  2. Bulgaria, Hungary, and Malta shamed on press unfreedom
  3. EU drafts $20bn US sanctions list in aviation dispute
  4. Brunei defends stoning to death of gay men in EU letter
  5. US Democrats side with Ireland on Brexit
  6. Wifi or 5G to connect EU cars? MEPs weigh in
  7. How Brexit may harm the new EU parliament
  8. EU parliament backs whistleblower law

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us