Investor Citizenship and Residence Schemes in the European Union

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ETSK:n lausunto: Investor Citizenship and Residence Schemes in the European Union

Key points

The EESC:

  • echoes the European Parliament's call to phase out all investor schemes, and urges the Member States to follow this recommendation or provide reasonable arguments and evidence for not doing so;
  • applauds that the European Commission has set up a group of Member States' experts to address the risks posed by citizenship-by-investment and residence-by-investment schemes and agrees on its mandate;
  • recommends that Member States be urged to apply a due diligence process without specific duration restrictions and adapted to the high-risk profile of applicants;
  • recommends that the Commission establish a coordination mechanism that allows Member States to exchange information on successful and rejected applications for citizenship and residence permits;
  • recommends that all agents and intermediaries providing services to applicants be subject to anti-money-laundering rules as set out in the Fifth Anti-Money Laundering Directive;
  • recommends that the EU encourages all agents providing services to applicants to be accredited and subject to a code of conduct;
  • recognises that public authorities may need to hire specialist agencies to conduct the necessary checks, but insists that authorities should nevertheless maintain primary responsibility for accepting or rejecting applicants. Authorities must also maintain a set of measures to avoid conflicts of interest or bribery risks;
  • is convinced that Member States should ensure that programmes operate with strong governance and oversight mechanisms and are subject to public scrutiny.