THE ‘Citizenship by Investment’ programme, which enables high-net-worth third country nationals to apply for Cypriot citizenship has boosted the Cyprus economy by €2 billion.
The announcement was made by interior minister Socrates Hasikos during his examination of his ministry’s audit services report for 2013.
However, the Minister avoided giving any further details on the issue due to privacy issues and invited MPs who wished more information to visit the Interior Ministry’s offices.
The Minister said that “The Republic of Cyprus is under pressure to stop this policy, so we need to keep a low profile.”
We understand that the pressure to stop the policy is coming from Europe.
Answering a question raised in the European Parliament regarding easy access to European citizenship for individuals from non-EU countries, Ms Jourová on behalf of the Commission replied:
“As regards national schemes for naturalisation of investors (investor citizenship schemes), the Commission recalls that it is for each Member State to lay down the conditions for the acquisition and loss of its nationality. As confirmed in settled case-law of the Court of Justice of the EU, when exercising their competence in the area of nationality, Member States must have due regard to Union law.
“The Commission has stressed that it expects Member States to use their prerogatives to award citizenship in a spirit of sincere cooperation with the other Member States and the EU. Account should be taken of the norms and obligations by which they are bound under international law and the criteria upon which they traditionally build their nationality laws. These criteria require in particular the existence of a genuine link between the applicant for naturalisation and the country or its people. Investor citizenship schemes providing for the possibility to obtain naturalisation in return for investment alone do not meet the minimum requirement of a genuine link to the country.
“The Commission is analysing investor citizenship schemes in all Member States concerned. At this stage, it appears that there is only one Member State granting naturalisation in return for investment alone, namely Cyprus.
“The Commission is currently pursuing a dialogue with the Cypriot authorities on this issue.”