EU member states have earned about € 25 billion in the last decade from wealthy individuals who obtained citizenship in a EU country in return for their investment. A report from the EU commission claims that the schemes designed to encourage wealthy individuals to invest in return for residency rights or citizenship pose a danger to the continent’s security.
By obtaining residency rights or citizenship these individuals can secure the right to free movement in EU and many other Western countries. The EU commission also mentioned that the cash-for-status offers pose “risks to security, including the possibility of infiltration of non-EU organized crime groups, as well as risks of money laundering, corruption and tax evasion”.
Sophie in ’t Veld, the vice-chair of the EU committee on civil liberties, justice and home affairs, said: “I welcome the fact the European commission is, albeit belatedly, sounding the alarm. We need a ban on these schemes, which are exploited by organized criminals who often receive limited background checks, and to align rules for acquiring citizenship. “After all, by acquiring citizenship of an EU member state, you get EU citizenship automatically. Golden visas and passports are essentially state-facilitated corruption and money-laundering schemes.