Written by 9:29 am European Union

European Commission Reiterates Its Call for Albania Not to Launch Golden Passport Scheme

The European Commission has once again warned Albania not to introduce its Golden Passport Scheme after, according to the Commission, it goes against legislation of the Europe Union and poses a risk for Albania’s accession to the bloc.

Recently, authorities in Albania announced that they would introduce the Citizenship by Investment program, which allows internationals to acquire citizenship in Albania, provided they meet specific conditions and make a specific amount of money investment, SchengenVisaInfo.com reports.

The Citizenship by Investment program is eligible in several European countries; however, authorities in EU countries have often criticized such a scheme after it has often been involved in unlawful affairs such as money laundering, and corruption, even though Golden Passport Schemes bring significant benefits to the economic sector.

Despite the EU Commission warnings, authorities in Albania previously introduced new changes to the law on private-public partnership (PPP) by also including the Golden Passport scheme in the law, while at present, the government of Albania is planning to hire private firms to promote such schemes in other countries.

Even though the Citizenship-by-investment program has been considered a gateway to many unlawful affairs, according to authorities in Albania, there is nothing to worry about this scheme; according to them, the issuance of citizenship and security checks would be kept under state jurisdiction.

In addition, some of the Albanian government officials have rejected the criticism of EU authorities regarding such a scheme adding that it would be free of corruption while its main purpose is to attract wealthy internationals.

But Brussels has another opinion. According to the latest progress report of Albania, introduced last year, establishing such a scheme poses a risk to the country’s security, among others.

“On citizenship rights, a provision of the Law on Citizenship adopted in July 2020 may still lead to the establishment of an investors’ Golden Passport scheme. Such programs pose risks as regards security, money laundering, tax evasion, terrorist financing, corruption and infiltration by organized crime and are incompatible with the EU acquis. Therefore, as a candidate country, Albania should refrain from developing such a scheme,” the report stressed.

Albania became an EU candidate in 2014; still, the Balkan country is not an official member of the European Union. Recently, the European Union has initiated accession negotiations with Albania in order for the Balkan country to join the bloc, which was considered a historic moment by the EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.

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