EU Commission takes steps against sale of passports

The EU Commission has warned of the security risks involved in granting citizenship without going through the proper procedures. Malta, Cyprus and Bulgaria are offering passports in exchange for cash or investments. This is facilitating money laundering and corruption, said EU Commissioner for Migration and Home Affairs Dimitris Avramopoulos, announcing standardised regulations by the end of the year. A long overdue measure, commentators observe.

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Financial Times (GB) /

Brussels' crackdown doesn't go far enough

The EU Commission's proposals have a decisive drawback, the Financial Times believes:

“The clampdown the European Commission launched this week is long overdue - though its powers to enforce it alone are limited. … Its call for member states to agree on common security checks for all applicants by the year-end is welcome. So are recommendations that countries should publish applicant numbers, rejection rates and countries of origin. But its report this week stops short of proposing EU-wide harmonised regulation of the schemes - though Transparency International says this is needed to stop EU borders being 'porous to criminals and corrupt individuals'.”

Etelä-Saimaa (FI) /

Friendly passport traders hurting the EU

The matter of EU passports shouldn't be taken lightly, comments Etelä-Saimaa:

“Questions of nationality lie within the remit of each individual state, but in the EU things are a little more complicated. Because of the Schengen Agreement an EU passport or residency permit issued by one country opens the door to virtually the entire Union. For this reason requirements must be harmonised and procedures made transparent in the EU. It's unfair to the other member states if the friendly passport traders Malta and Cyprus issue passports to Russians, or whoever, without conducting thorough background checks. ... Travel documents must not become commodities, and above all they must not become a means for committing crimes.”

Neue Zürcher Zeitung (CH) /

These nations don't take themselves seriously

Neue Zürcher Zeitung condemns the sale of citizenship:

“Malta, Cyprus and Bulgaria must face a critical question. What do their own citizens mean to them? Citizenship defines the binding ties between the individual and the state, with mutual rights and obligations and loyalties for the community of citizens. If a nation randomly sells these citizens' rights to outsiders who have no ties to this community, then it is not taking itself seriously.”