15 Feb, 2022

Renew Europe leads crackdown on Golden Passport & Visa Schemes

Renew Europe has for several years campaigned against so-called 'golden passport' and 'golden visa' schemes that allow wealthy people to buy their way into EU residency and citizenship through unfair and corrupt practices.

Finally, the efforts of Renew Europe’s hard work are paying off, with the legislative own-initiative report on the citizenship and residence by investment schemes led by Sophie in 't Veld MEP (D66, NL).

This report, constituting the first-ever comprehensive package of legislative proposals on this topic, calls for the phasing out of the Golden Passport Scheme and to set up EU-level regulation on Golden Visas.

in 't Veld, Coordinator in the European Parliament Civil Liberties Committee and rapporteur for the report, said:

"Golden passports and visas are above all golden opportunities for money laundering and for corrupt access to the European Union. Member States are selling something that is not theirs to sell: access to the EU. Thereby, those Member States benefit financially, but at the expense of the security and integrity of the Union. It is also unfair to those that invest in the EU economy through regular channels or those that go through lengthy procedures to get a residence permit or nationality in a Member State. Now the Commission needs to follow through and come up with legislative proposals!"

The golden visa regulation will include Union-wide rules that generate more vigorous background checks on all applicants, reporting-back obligations by Member States, and enhanced information-sharing between authorities to counter tax avoidance.

Renew Europe also wants stricter regulation of the intermediary industry, for instance by introducing a ban on the marketing of golden visas using EU signs. Other vital elements of the report are the proposal for an EU-level tax on the revenues Member States generate with the schemes and improvement of EU legislation on anti-money laundering to close any potential remaining loopholes.

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