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Commission tells Cyprus to lift property restrictions

The European Commission has acted to ensure that EU nationals have unrestricted access to buy a second home in Cyprus.

THE European Commission has today asked Cyprus to respect EU rules that give nationals from the EU, as well as from Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein, the right to buy a second home in Cyprus without restrictions.

Since the accession of Cyprus to the EU in 2004, transitional measures were in force that could restrict such acquisitions but these measures expired in 2009. As Cyprus has not yet repealed these restrictions, the Commission is sending Cyprus a reasoned opinion, the second step in the infringement procedure.

If the Cypriot authorities fail to take satisfactory measures to remedy the infringement of EU law within two months, the Commission may decide to refer the case to the EU Court of Justice.

What is the aim of the EU rule in question?

Free movement of capital is at the heart of the Single Market and constitutes one of its “four freedoms”. It allows for more open, integrated, competitive and efficient markets and services in Europe.

For citizens it means the ability to undertake a range of operations abroad, such as opening a bank account, buying shares in non-domestic companies, or purchasing real estate.

For companies it means the ability to invest in and own companies in other European countries, and to play an active role in their management.

How is Cyprus not respecting these rules?

According to the 2003 Accession Treaty, Cyprus was allowed to maintain transitional measures that imposed restrictions on buying second homes for EU/EEA nationals. These measures would apply for five years after the Accession Treaty entered into force and thus expired on 1 May 2009. By that date, the Cypriot authorities were obliged to repeal the transitional measures.

However, this has not been the case. Since Cyprus has not adopted any new legislation repealing or amending the above-mentioned restrictive rules, the Commission is of the opinion that Cyprus infringed its obligations under the EU Treaty rules on the free movement of capital.

In this context, the Commission refers to the jurisprudence of the Court of Justice, according to which any incompatibility of national rules with Treaty provisions can only be redressed by adopting other binding domestic provisions, having the same legal force as those which require to be amended, and providing for sufficient legal certainty.

How are EU citizens and/or businesses suffering as a result?

As Cyprus is still maintaining the restrictive measures, nationals from the EU/EEA are hampered in their efforts to acquire secondary homes in Cyprus.

Further reading

Europa – Press Releases: Commission acts to ensure unrestricted access to buy a second home in Cyprus

Readers' comments

Comments on this article are no longer being accepted.

  • Andrew says:

    Buy a second home in Cyprus without restrictions. Someone in the EU is trying the old April fools day joke again.

    Buying any home in Cyprus has one great big in your face restriction. It is called inability to obtain your TITLE DEEDS.

    The EU will be telling them their Bananas are too small next.

  • Anthony says:

    How are they hampered, what examples are there at all?

  • Mike says:

    Has anyone started a book on whether Cyprus will even listen to the EU or if it will, as ever, choose to make like the proverbial Ostrich & feign ignorance.

    I guess the odds would need to be evens but worth a punt nonetheless.

  • out of the frying pan into the fire says:

    I know and understand the previous comments from personal experience of one or two lawyers and a well known Paphos developer. But what choice do we have ?

    Well here is an idea to float. We all contribute say 10 Euros and take out a full page advertisement in the Sunday Times / Sunday Observer / Sunday Telegraph warning of the pitfalls of buying in Cyprus.

    The resulting fall out would spread far and wide.

  • Unbelievable says:

    So, the EU Commission finally pipes up and Tells Cyprus to open up the housing market for everyone.

    This is a bit like Aiding & Abetting – don’t you think?

    EU actively encouraging EU citizens to go buy a house in Cyprus….but if you get stitched up, please don’t come knocking on our door for advice!

    MEP’s – Total Waste of Time !

  • EleniP says:

    Help me out here someone. Why would Cyprus intentionally not want an EU citizen to buy a second home?

  • andyp says:

    What are the chances of The EU intervening to allow us to own our first home?

    Anyone for seconds in Cyprus?

  • The views expressed in readers' comments are not necessarily shared by the Cyprus Property News.

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