The European Union (EU) Commission demanded that the “golden passports” given to some Russian and Belarusian citizens by the member states within the scope of citizenship against investment be taken back.
The EU Commission has recommended to end the practice of citizenship by investment known as the “Golden passport” in some of the member states.
In the recommendation prepared by the EU Commission, it was stated that some Russian and Belarusian citizens who are on the EU’s sanctions list or who “support Russia’s war in Ukraine” may have obtained EU citizenship.
It has been noted that these people can easily enter the EU and move freely in the Schengen area thanks to their residence permit, even if they have not acquired the citizenship of EU countries.
Strict controls were requested
A residence permit for investment, called “golden visa”, was also requested after more strict controls. The EU Commission emphasized that the Russia-Ukraine war once again showed the dangers associated with crimes such as money laundering, corruption and tax evasion.
A person who acquires the citizenship of an EU member state is also considered an EU citizen. Holders of a passport from one of the EU countries acquire the right to freely move within the EU, access the EU internal market, participate in the European Parliament (EP) and countries’ elections and vote.
In the EU, Bulgaria, the Greek Cypriot part and Malta had a “Golden passport” and 12 countries had a residence permit for investment under different conditions.
Bulgaria officially ended the “Golden passport” practice, which has been going on for about 9 years, last week. The Greek Cypriot side is currently only evaluating applications submitted before November 2020. In Malta, the practice continues.
It is stated that 130 thousand people in the EU benefited from these two applications between 2011 and 2019, and these countries earned 21.8 billion euros.
It is left to the will of EU countries to implement the recommendation of the EU Commission. The Commission requests the governments concerned to report on the situation in the member states regarding the implementation of the recommendation.
The EP accepted the report on March 9, which demanded that the application of citizenship by investment, known as the “Golden passport”, be completely banned in EU countries.
In addition to the EU, some countries such as the USA and the UK included a large number of Russian citizens on the sanction list after Russia’s attack on Ukraine. Among these people are many wealthy Russian business people who have previously obtained EU citizenship.