Briefing 
 

EU passports for sale: MEPs want more transparency and controls 

“Golden visa” programmes, used by some EU countries to grant citizenship or residence rights in exchange for investment, will be debated in plenary on Wednesday.

According to critics, these programmes are not only discriminatory, being available only to the wealthy, but they also constitute a source of corruption, open the door to money laundering and tax evasion and put the free-movement Schengen zone at risk. Some MEPs are worried that corruption and crime may increase due to these types of schemes and fear they might be contrary to EU values. 

 

Parliament condemned in January 2014 the schemes in place in some EU member states, and particularly Malta, which directly or indirectly result in the sale of EU citizenship to non-EU nationals, and urged the European Commission to check whether they are compatible with EU rules. The Commission plans to present a report on the matter later this year.


Rules vary but most countries demand a sizeable financial contribution (650,000 euros in the case of Malta), a real estate purchase for a minimum amount and sometimes an investment in state bonds from prospective citizens. Residence-by-investment programmes tend to require simply buying a residence in the country of an agreed minimum price.


Procedure: Topical debate (Rule 153a)

Debate: Wednesday, 30 May