EU citizenship on sale to rich investorsby Ivano Abbadessa - 2014.01.16
In Europe the race has begun to sell citizenship and residence permits. The economic crisis has played its part in the increasing number of EU states that are allowing wealthy investors from third countries to acquire citizenship in order to attract foreign capital. This effectively allows the investors, in accordance with EU law, unrestricted access to all EU countries. Requirements vary greatly from country to country. While Malta grants full citizenship to a foreigner in exchange for an investment of €650,000, Cyprus requires an investment of more than €5 million. Getting a residence permit is far less expensive. For example, Greece grants permits to those who buy a property worth a minimum of €250,000. Hungary offers the best value: a foreigner can become a resident on payment of a €300,000 fee, of which €250,000 will be reimbursed after five years. These are just a few examples of the EU citizenship market, which has prompted Brussels to ask member states to take the issue more seriously. “Citizenship,” said the Justice Commissioner in a debate at the EU Parliament, “should not be for sale!”
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