Friday

2nd Dec 2022

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

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe 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.

Portugal was poised to scrap 'Golden Visas' - why didn't it?

Over the last 10 years, Portugal has given 1,470 golden visas to people originating from countries whose tax-transparency practices the EU finds problematic. But unlike common practice in other EU states with similar programmes, Portugal has not implemented "due diligence".

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersCOP27: Food systems transformation for climate action
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersThe Nordic Region and the African Union urge the COP27 to talk about gender equality
  3. International Sustainable Finance CentreJoin CEE Sustainable Finance Summit, 15 – 19 May 2023, high-level event for finance & business
  4. Friedrich Naumann Foundation European DialogueGender x Geopolitics: Shaping an Inclusive Foreign Security Policy for Europe
  5. Obama FoundationThe Obama Foundation Opens Applications for its Leaders Program in Europe
  6. EFBWW – EFBH – FETBBA lot more needs to be done to better protect construction workers from asbestos

Latest News

  1. EU must break Orbán's veto on a tax rate for multinationals
  2. Belarus dictator's family loves EU luxuries, flight data shows
  3. How Berlin and Paris sold-out the EU corporate due diligence law
  4. Turkey's EU-funded detention centres ripe with abuse: NGO
  5. In green subsidy race, EU should not imitate US
  6. EU Commission proposes suspending billions to Hungary
  7. EU: Russian assets to be returned in case of peace treaty
  8. Frontex leadership candidates grilled by MEPs

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us