Commission opens infringement procedures against Cyprus for selling passports

Commission opens infringement procedures against Cyprus for selling passports

The European Commission announced on Tuesday it was opening infringement procedures against Cyprus and Malta over their respective citizenship schemes.

The Commission said that the granting of nationality – and thereby EU citizenship – in exchange for “pre-determined payments or investments without any genuine link with the member-states concerned, undermines the essence of EU citizenship.”

It also noted that the effects of investor citizenship schemes “are neither limited to the member-states that have them, nor are they neutral” with regard to other member-states and the EU as a whole.

Cyprus and Malta will now have two months to reply to the letters of formal notice. If the replies are not satisfactory, the Commission may issue a so-called “reasoned opinion” in this issue.

The Cypriot House speaker resigned on October 15 in the wake of a cash-for-passports scandal after he was secretly filmed by the Al Jazeera network talking to an undercover reporter posing as a representative of a Chinese businessman with a criminal record.

Demetris Syllouris is shown promising to facilitate the businessman’s passport application.

The citizenship for investment scheme has brought in eight billion euros for Cyprus since 2013.

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