The European Union’s Justice Commissioner Vera Jourova has warned that citizenships for sale represent a security threat. She called on EU member states to closely monitor how many citizenships they hand out in exchange for big investments in their country.
As reported by Deutsche Welle (DW), Germany’s international broadcaster, Jourova said an increasing number of EU member states had been issuing citizenship to third-country nationals if they had previously invested large sums of money in their respective countries.
The Commission was “extremely concerned” about the escalation of “golden passports,” being offered, the Czech politician said.
EU countries offering Golden Visa programs include: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Greece, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Portugal, Spain, and the United Kingdom. Between 2013 and 2017, Hungary also ran a Golden Visa programme.
“The granting of citizenship poses a serious security risk because it gives beneficiaries all the rights of EU citizens and allows them to move freely throughout the Union,” Jourova told Die Welt.
“We don’t want any trojan horses in the EU,” she added. “Some member states must do more to ensure citizenship is not awarded to criminals.”
Possession of an EU passport infers rights such as free movement inside the 28-nation bloc.