President Anastasiades said that Cyprus has been unfairly targeted by the EU, referring to a Commission report on the risks posed by citizenship by investment schemes.
The European Commission issued today a report mapping the existing practices and identifying risks with regards to security, money laundering, tax evasion and corruption.
Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship Dimitris Avramopoulos said: "Legally residing in the EU and in the Schengen area comes with rights and privileges that should not be abused. Member States must at all times fully respect and apply existing obligatory checks and balances – and national investor residence schemes should not be exempt from that. The work we have done together over the past years in terms of increasing security, strengthening our borders, and closing information gaps should not be jeopardized. We will monitor full compliance with EU law."
Anastasiades rejected this criticism by saying that Cyprus has granted only 0.3% of the total number of citizenships given in the EU. “These double standards must stop,” he said adding that Cyprus has austere criteria in place to prevent abuse of the system.
The EU Commission report singles out three Member States, Bulgaria, Cyprus and Malta, indicating that they currently operate schemes that grant investors the nationality of these countries under conditions ''which are less strict than ordinary naturalisation regimes''.
''In these three Member States, there is no obligation of physical residence for the individual, nor a requirement of other genuine connections with the country before obtaining citizenship'', the Commission report reads.