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28 Feb 2019

EPP Group Wants to Abolish Golden Visa Schemes in EU

Golden Visa SchemeMembers of the European Parliament from the European People’s Party group have demanded the abolition of the Golden visa schemes on Wednesday, February 27.

In a meeting, the Special Committee on Financial Crimes, Tax Evasion and Tax Avoidance (TAX3) adopted a number of recommendations towards tackling financial crimes. During this meeting, MEPs from the EPP said that Golden visa schemes pose a security threat to the EU.

Luděk Niedermayer from the Group of the European People’s Party and a Parliament’s Co-Rapporteur of the Report, specifically mentioned schemes to attract foreign investors as a form of EU citizenship devaluation.

“The Golden Visa and special tax schemes to attract foreign investors pose a security threat to the EU while delivering only marginal or zero economic benefits and devaluating European citizenship,” Niedermayer said in front of the committee.

Dariusz Rosati EPP Group’s Spokesman in the Special Committee also criticized the Golden visa programs, highlighting that Russian oligarchs are common beneficiaries of these visas.

“Money laundering cases, including ING Bank, ABLV Bank, Danske Bank as well as Deutsche Bank were linked to Russian capital or citizens. In addition, the infamous Golden Visa programs very often benefit Russian oligarchs. Our work in the Committee has proven that Russians and Russia play a disreputable role in tax avoidance, tax evasion and money laundering within the EU,” Rosati said.

The Golden visa and passport schemes run by some EU member countries have been widely criticized recently. In January this year, the European Commission presented a report on citizenship and residence schemes in the EU. The report highlighted the risks coming from such schemes and also outlined the steps that need to be taken to address these concerns.

Previously, the anti-corruption organization Transparency International published an analysis pointing out the risks arising from the citizenship- and residency-by-investment schemes.

While Cyprus decided to change the rules for getting a golden visa, Portugal has rejected a bill to abolish the Golden Visa Scheme. Instead, the MPs voted pro the widening of the scheme by adding a new category called “green visas”.

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