The European Commission has called for the suspension of visa-free travel for countries offering golden passports. Golden passports are citizenship schemes that allow wealthy individuals to obtain citizenship in a country in exchange for a significant investment.
The Commission’s report highlights a number of security risks associated with golden passports, including:
- Infiltration of organized crime: Golden passports can be used by criminals to gain access to the EU and its financial system.
- Money laundering: Golden passports can be used to launder money and other illicit proceeds.
- Tax evasion: Golden passports can be used to evade taxes.
- Corruption: Golden passports can be used to bribe government officials into granting citizenship.
- Identity fraud: Golden passports can be used to create new identities, which can then be used for criminal purposes.
The Commission is calling for the EU to suspend the visa exemption for any third country that operates an investor citizenship scheme. The Commission is also proposing a number of other measures to address the security risks posed by golden passports.
EU Member States Under Scrutiny
The Commission is monitoring all visa-free third countries operating investor citizenship schemes. A number of visa-free third countries are under close scrutiny due to the potential risks raised by their investor citizenship schemes, or their plans to establish such schemes.
Five Eastern Caribbean States at High Risk
The Commission has been engaging with the five Eastern Caribbean states operating investor citizenship schemes (Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, Saint Kitts and Nevis, and Saint Lucia) to obtain relevant information and data on those schemes, which are classified as potentially posing a high risk.
The short processing times, low fees, high number of applications and low rejection rates, suggest that the operation of such schemes could pose certain risks for the security of EU Member States.
The fact that successful applicants are then allowed to change their identity once the new nationality is obtained raises further potential security risks.
Why is this important?
Golden passports pose a serious threat to the security of the EU. They can be used by criminals to gain access to the EU and its financial system, launder money, evade taxes, and create new identities.
The EU must take action to address the security risks posed by golden passports. This includes suspending visa-free travel for countries offering golden passports, and strengthening the EU’s own security checks and procedures.
What can individuals do?
Individuals can help to raise awareness of the security risks posed by golden passports. They can also contact their elected representatives and urge them to support the EU’s proposal to suspend visa-free travel for countries offering golden passports.