After years of political campaigns against the schemes allowing wealthy third-country nationals to buy their way to EU citizenship and visas, the European Parliament today joined forces with Renew Europe and adopted a legislative own-initiative report by Sophie in 't Veld calling for a phase out of so called' golden passport' schemes and the setting up of EU-wide regulation on 'golden visa' schemes.
The report also calls for Member States to immediately stop operating their golden passport and visa schemes for all Russian applicants subject to targeted measures due to the Putin regime's invasion of Ukraine.
Sophie in 't Veld, Coordinator in the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs, and rapporteur for the report on Citizenship and Residence by Investment Schemes, says:
"The Parliament has taken the lead in finally ending the sale of European passports and setting strict standards for selling residency cards. For too long, the member states have let this practice stand, allowing in shady people doing shady business. Governments are selling what is not theirs to sell; and it must stop.”
More generally, the union-wide rules on golden visas are needed to harmonise standards and strengthen the fight against money laundering, corruption and tax evasion. The regulation should include stringent background checks on all applicants, requirements for minimum physical residence, an EU-level tax on the revenues Member States generate with the schemes and stricter regulation for the intermediaries for these schemes.
With today's strong message from the European Parliament, Renew Europe demand that the European Commission put concrete legislative proposals on the table as soon as possible.