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EC: Αuthorities in Cyprus need to stop processing pending 'golden passport' applications

10/06/2021 17:46

European Commission Spokesman Christian Wigant told CNA that the authorities in Cyprus need to end the golden passports scheme in its entirety and stop processing the pending applications as this is in violation of EU Law. He further explained that if and when the authorities end the program in its entirety, then the Commission will look into this, but for the time being it is up to Cyprus to respond to the concerns addressed by the Commission reasoned opinion issued Wednesday.

More specifically, European Commission Spokesman Christian Wigant told CNA that "yesterday, the European Commission took the next steps in the infringement procedures regarding the investor citizenship schemes operated by Cyprus and Malta, also referred to as 'golden passport' schemes".

"The Commission is sending a Reasoned Opinion to Cyprus the concerns set out in the letter of formal notice have not been addressed. While Cyprus has repealed its scheme, it continues to process pending applications", the spokesman noted.

"The Commission is also sending an additional letter of formal notice to Malta, in which it extends its concerns to the new investor citizenship scheme established at the end of last year", he said.

"The Commission considers that by establishing and operating investor citizenship schemes that systematically offer citizenship in exchange for pre-determined payments and investments, these two Member States violate EU law", he recalled.
"The Cypriot and Maltese governments have two months to reply. If the replies are not satisfactory, the Commission may take next steps in the infringement process", Christian Wigant told CNA.

He also clarified that "while Cyprus repealed it’s scheme and stopped reviewing new applications on 1 Nov 2020, it still continues to process pending applications. We believe that the processing of those applications is in violation of EU law".

As he stated "if and when any of the member states ends the scheme in its entirety, then the Commission will look again at the situation, I will not speculate at this stage on the possible next steps".

"But we of course take note of the findings of a special committee established to review that naturalizations in Cyprus, and now we are of course interested how Cyprus` authorities plan to address the situation in response to our reasoned opinion. And so I would not go into more details at this stage, it`s, it`s now for Cyprus to look into this, and from their side to reply to the Commission in due time, as to how they want to address our concerns" he concluded.