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Wednesday 30th September 2020
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Are Cyprus ‘Golden Passports’ legal?

An Al Jazeera investigation has revealed Cyprus has been providing European passports to convicted criminals and high-level political figures.

The large leak of passport data to Al Jazeera’s Investigative Unit exposes serious flaws to the island’s so-called “golden passports” scheme that has generated more than US$8 billion for the Cyprus government.

The European justice commissioner says he will consider legal action against Cyprus. But can it be stopped?

Al Jazeera presenter Hashem Ahelbarra discusses the situation in a 25-minute TV broadcast with guests:

Laure Brillaud – Senior policy officer at Transparency International covering the European Union.

Praxoula Antoniadou – President of the United Democrats political party and former Minister of Commerce, Industry and Tourism of Cyprus.

Jelena Dzankic – Co-director of the Global Citizenship Observatory at the European University Institute.

6 COMMENTS

  1. I would suggest that the process of issuing these so called golden visa’s would be legal. If not then other EU countries that have done so would have also acted incorrectly and would also face the potential of legal action. It seems this issue has only just hit the EU’s radar because of the data breach. If it was not for this breach, would it have been an issue? I somehow do not think so.

    The reality is that individual countries are at liberty to issue citizenship to whoever they wish. I am not aware of any EU Regulations or other decrees etc stating this is not possible as if it was unlawful (in any way), the EU would have commenced infraction proceeding a long time ago. So called Golden Visas/Passports are not new in the EU and I think may have first started with Portugal.

    This brings an interesting side issue in relation to refugees and acceptance into Europe. As in many cases it is impossible to background check people. Every country in Europe has accepted and been required to take a proportion of people they have zero information on in many cases. Accepting that the vast majority are genuine but a larger number perhaps not and some of equally dubious backgrounds or motives.

    • The EU has been calling on member states to discontinue ‘golden passport’ schemes for quite some time. The EU first raised concerns in 2014 saying that “national schemes involving the “direct or indirect outright sale” of Union citizenship undermined the very concept of Union citizenship.” and there have been repeated calls to introduce more stringent controls and improve transparency of the schemes.

      Malta’s PM (Joseph Muscat) agreed with an EU report that criticised the investor citizenship and residence schemes of Malta, Cyprus and Bulgaria when he visited Cyprus last year – see Citizenship schemes need greater scrutiny (includes a link to the EU report.)

      As for refugees – they are held in ‘camps’ and are thoroughly investigated before they’re allowed to remain (EU countries have rejected calls to accept a set proportion.) But there are problems in mainland Europe where some refugees who have been allowed to remain have decided to return to their home counties. Some of these, I’ve been told, give/sell their residency documents to fellow countrymen who want to get into Europe and can do so very easily. This obviously poses a risk of terrorists, etc. entering the EU.

  2. Interesting to note that the ‘my country, right or wrong’ brigade are in full swing in the comments on this article.

    Naturally, it’s all ‘propaganda’ to besmirch the ‘honour’ of Cyprus. Praxoulla was indeed out of her depth and as for being interrupted by the interviewer, it wasn’t surprising as she rambled on and said absolutely nothing. In her first statement she didn’t even address the allegations. The other two interviewees were succinct and kept to the point. I suppose to some they were agents of Al Jazeera and Turkey.

    It’s high time that Cyprus got its act together by ceasing to play the martyr and blaming all and sundry for their woes. They’re like children in the playground running to teacher all the time. Pathetic.

  3. Praxoulla poor women is out of her depth, seem like Al Jarezza are doing a wonderful job at manipulating the situation, I wonder why

  4. This is such a propaganda. Every time Praxoulla wanted to say something useful, the reporter was interrupting her. He is even changing her statements to suit the Al Jazeera propaganda.
    What a show!

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