– Citizenship schemes for investors in third countries with visa-free access to the EU have grown in recent years. As for visa-free candidate countries in the EU neighborhood, Montenegro currently runs an investor citizenship scheme that will be phased out due to EU concerns, North Macedonia is increasingly granting investor citizenship, and Albania has announced plans to establish an investor citizenship scheme – the report states. of the European Commission.
Citizenship and residence programs for investors create, it is added, a number of risks for member states and for the EU as a whole: in particular, security risks, including the possibility of infiltration by criminal groups, as well as risks of money laundering, corruption and tax evasion.
– Also, there are concerns about the lack of transparency and management of the schemes. Both citizenship and residency programs have come under public scrutiny following allegations of abuse and corruption associated with them in some member states. Furthermore, the candidate screening process can be left to private companies, where there is a permanent risk of conflict of interest and corruption – the report says.
In the regular annual report on Montenegro from October, the European Commission emphasized that the economic citizenship program should be terminated, because that scheme presents risks such as money laundering, tax evasion, financing of terrorism, corruption and infiltration of organized crime, local media reports.