EU citizenship gives an individual free movement in most of the EU, easy access to the single market and other rights. It was proved that twenty EU countries have such schemes. The scale of investment required to obtain residence ranges from about €13,500 in Croatia to more than €5m in Luxembourg and Slovakia. In a report last October another anti-corruption group, Transparency International, said Spain, Hungary, Latvia, Portugal and the UK had granted the most golden visas to investors and their families. Around €25bn in foreign direct investment has flowed into the EU through these schemes over the past 10 years, the report revealed.
The Commission says it has concerns about security problems, money laundering practices, tax evasion and transparency about this practice. EU states are failing to inform each other about applicants. “We want more transparency on how nationality is granted and more co-operation between member states. There should be no weak link in the EU, where people could shop around for the most lenient scheme,” EU Justice Commissioner Vera Jourova declared. For the instant, the alarm was raised without offering solutions. Something in this direction will be decided soon.