20 Nov 2019
The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) has called for a ban on investor citizenship and residence schemes across Europe, saying they pose serious risks of security, money laundering and tax evasion.
The EESC endorsed a recent report of the European Parliament which also called for an end to all existing schemes as soon as possible.
There are currently between 17 and 20 investor citizenship and residence schemes in the EU (including Malta’s). According to a joint report by Transparency International and Global Witness in 2018, these schemes have given the EU more than 6,000 new citizens and 100,000 new residents since 2008, and member states have attracted around €25 billion in foreign direct investment.
Jean-Marc Roirant, rapporteur for the EESC’s opinion, underlined that these schemes often did not comply with the fundamental rights underpinning European cooperation and insisted on the need to phase out the schemes across the EU:
The EESC called on the European Commission to establish a coordination mechanism that allows Member States to exchange information on successful and rejected applications for citizenship and residence in order to avoid “passport-shopping” or “visa-shopping” between jurisdictions by risky individuals.
It also recommended that all agents and intermediaries providing services to applicants be subject to EU anti-money-laundering rules and called for clarification of the role of the private sector, with the introduction of an obligatory code of conduct, supervision of regulated professionals and establishment of a publicly accessible Registry of Service Providers in this field.
Read more at Times of Malta
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