The European Commission is investigating the system of Cyprus, Malta and Bulgaria for issuing passports to non-EU citizens for investment reasons, known as golden visas, for which hundreds of Russian and Chinese millionaires have obtained EU passports in recent years.
After the pan-Arab chain Al Jazeera found out that between 2017 and 2019 more than 500 Chinese tycoons received the Cypriot passport thanks to this system, Brussels insisted that “due to the nature” of these programs, the systems that passports are supposed to be given to large investors have an impact across the EU.
As a Community spokesman said, the European Executive has expressed concern about the systems of Bulgaria, Malta and Cyprus, to which it sent a letter in April discussing their Golden Visa programs.
At the moment, Spain has not received the notification from Brussels, despite the fact that it issued 8,061 residence permits of this type last year, an increase of 22 percent compared to 2018.
Regarding the possibility that these practices lead to infringement proceedings for some Member States, the spokesman recalled that Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders had criticized this type of system and that Brussels will evaluate the initiation of infringement proceedings if it judges it necessary.