The European Commission announced that, by the end of the year, it will present guidelines to EU Member States in the field of citizenship. A spokesperson states that these measures affect the schemes for the award of citizenship to investors.

The Commission will recommend that national authorities do a thorough check of the past of those wishing to obtain citizenship from a country in the EU.

The preparation of the recommendations relates to data distributed by a non-governmental organisation, according to which 13 EU countries (Austria, Cyprus, Luxembourg, Malta, Greece, Latvia, Portugal, Spain, Ireland, United Kingdom, Bulgaria, Netherlands and France) “sell” citizenship to investors. This scheme is the so called “gold visas”.

The European Commission will present its recommendations on citizenship by the end of the year.

European “gold visas”, which are bought by third-country nationals and entitle European citizenship to an investment in the country’s economy, are most demanded by Chinese and Russians. They are followed by the Indians and citizens of the Arab countries of the Middle East, shows the data of International Tax Associates B.V.

In the last 10 years, the countries of the European Union have been attracting through the Golden Visa system tens of billions of euros of investment. The most money comes through this scheme in Spain – EUR 970 million each year, followed by Cyprus by EUR 900 million and Portugal with EUR 670 million.

Over the 2007-2009 period alone, more than 100,000 passports have been issued to people from non-EU countries. Spain ranks at the top with 25 000 issued passports, second place takes Hungary with 20,000.

As EU citizens, people have the liberty to live and move within the Union without being discriminated against because of their nationality. They may be established in any EU country, vote and be elected. When they are abroad, they benefit from consular protection from an embassy or consulate of any other Union country. These and other advantages make “European citizenship” (i.e. a Member State passport) attractive to a broad and sometimes questionable circle of foreign politicians and businessmen.

In 2016 alone, EU Member States gave citizenship to nearly 1 million third-country nationals. Most of the Moroccan have been granted citizenship in 2016. 101 300 people from Morocco have been granted citizenship in a country of the Union. After the Maghreb country, ranks Albania – with 67 500 people awho have received passports from EU countries.