European Commission sees corruption risks but needs to get tougher on golden visas

Issued by Transparency International Liaison Office to the European Union



The European Commission said today that schemes that sell citizenship and residency to the super rich, known as ‘golden visas’, threaten the EU’s collective security and integrity.

The Commission’s report states that the citizenship schemes are “deliberately marketed and often explicitly advertised as a means of acquiring EU citizenship” with Bulgaria, Cyprus and Malta disregarding Union Law by selling passports without requiring applicants to live in their country.

A day ahead of the report’s release, the Bulgarian government announced they would suspend their citizenship scheme.

Anti-corruption watchdogs Transparency International and Global Witness warn that the report from the Commission falls short of the urgent action needed to clean up the shady industry.

“The tide is turning on the golden visa industry with the EU recognising the unacceptable security and corruption risks they create. However, the Commission’s report tells us nothing about what Member States actually need to do – now they’ve sounded the alarm, they need to offer solutions,” said Naomi Hirst, Senior Anti-Corruption Campaigner at Global Witness. “It’s now time for Member States to take responsibility for their golden visa schemes and, following Bulgaria’s lead, suspend them until it is clear they are no longer threatening the security of the EU.”

The report states that the Commission will convene a “group of experts” to tackle risks in citizenship schemes and prepare a set of security checks by the end of 2019. But Global Witness and Transparency International say these measures are not adequate for what is needed. The two organisations are calling for stricter due diligence measures and an EU-wide enforcement of these standards.

“This report firmly puts the spotlight on dubious schemes in Member States, which is a good first step.” said Laure Brillaud of Transparency International. “However, we see little incentive for countries like Malta to scrap these lucrative schemes without strong action from international institutions such as the EU.”

The Commission is not the only European body that has expressed concern with golden visas. In a draft report published in September, the European Parliament’s Special Committee on Financial Crimes and Tax Evasion (TAX3) called for the schemes to be phased out.

 

Note to editors 

Global Witness and Transparency International’s report European Getaway – Inside the Murky World of Golden Visas, details the corruption risks inherent with ‘golden visa’ programmes. It found that these schemes open the EU to the criminal and corrupt, as a result of insufficient due diligence, conflicts of interest, and wide discretionary powers.


For any press enquiries please contact

Lucinda Pearson
E: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
T: +32 2 893 24 66

Latest

Support Transparency International

الأبعاد الخطيرة للتعديلات الدستورية المقترحة في مصر

يتأهب نواب البرلمان المصري للمصادقة على سلسلة من التعديلات الدستورية، التي ستؤدي في حال تمريرها إلى ترسيخ مزيد من السلطة بيد الرئيس، وتنصيب الجيش مجددا كأعلى سلطة في البلاد.

The alarming message of Egypt’s constitutional amendments

Parliamentarians in Egypt look set to approve a series of constitutional amendments this week that, if passed, would consolidate power in the office of the president, while restoring the military as the ultimate authority in the country.

Восточная Европа и Центральная Азия: слабая система сдержек и противовесов

Индекс восприятия коррупции (ИВК) за этот год представляет печальную картину касательно мер по борьбе с коррупцией в Восточной Европе и Центральной Азии. За несколько лет в этом регионе был достигнут очень незначительный прогресс в борьбе с коррупцией.

الشرق الأوسط وشمال أفريقيا: انتشار الفساد في ظل ضعف المؤسسات وتراجع الحقوق السياسية

كشف مؤشر مدركات الفساد 2018 عن صورة قاتمة لواقع الشرق الأوسط وشمال أفريقيا حيث أن معظم بلدان المنطقة قد أخفقت في مكافحة الفساد على الرغم من أن قلة قليلة من البلدان قد أحرزت تقدما تدريجيا.

Afrique subsaharienne:Les régimes non démocratiques sapent les efforts de lutte contre la corruption

L’Indice de perception de la corruption (IPC) présente cette année un tableau bien sombre de l’Afrique : seuls 8 pays sur 49 obtiennent un score supérieur à 43 sur les 100 points que compte l’Indice. Malgré l’engagement pris par les dirigeants africains de faire de 2018 l’Année africaine de lutte contre la corruption, les avancées concrètes se font encore attendre.

Trouble at the top: why high-scoring countries aren’t corruption-free

For the third year running, the top seven countries in the Corruption Perceptions Index 2018 consist of the four Nordic nations – Denmark, Finland, Sweden and Norway – plus New Zealand, Singapore and Switzerland. Yet that doesn’t mean that these countries are corruption-free.

Americas: el debilitamiento de la democracia y el auge del populismo

Con una puntuación media de 44 sobre 100 durante tres años consecutivos en el Índice de Percepción de la Corrupción (IPC), las Américas continúa sin lograr avances significativos en la lucha contra la corrupción.

Social Media

Follow us on Social Media