Monday

11th Dec 2017

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.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

"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.

News in Brief

  1. Greece to move migrants from islands to mainland, says NGO
  2. EU and Japan finalise trade deal
  3. Tusk: During transition period, UK will follow EU law
  4. SPD and CDU/CSU meet next week on 'Grand Coalition'
  5. Erdogan demands treaty update in historic Greece visit
  6. UK will contribute to 2019-2020 EU budget
  7. UK and EU agree: no hard border on Irish island
  8. Citizens' rights will be 'enshrined in UK law'

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. European Jewish CongressWelcomes Recognition of Jerusalem as the Capital of Israel and Calls on EU States to Follow Suit
  2. Mission of China to the EUChina and EU Boost Innovation Cooperation Under Horizon 2020
  3. European Gaming & Betting AssociationJuncker’s "Political" Commission Leaves Gambling Reforms to the Court
  4. AJC Transatlantic InstituteAJC Applauds U.S. Recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s Capital City
  5. EU2017EEEU Telecom Ministers Reached an Agreement on the 5G Roadmap
  6. European Friends of ArmeniaEU-Armenia Relations in the CEPA Era: What's Next?
  7. Mission of China to the EU16+1 Cooperation Injects New Vigour Into China-EU Ties
  8. EPSUEU Blacklist of Tax Havens Is a Sham
  9. EU2017EERole of Culture in Building Cohesive Societies in Europe
  10. ILGA EuropeCongratulations to Austria - Court Overturns Barriers to Equal Marriage
  11. Centre Maurits CoppietersCelebrating Diversity, Citizenship and the European Project With Fundació Josep Irla
  12. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceUnderstanding the Social Consequences of Obesity