Investment-passport exchange increasingly common in EU
An increasing number of EU states are offering investors passports as an initiative to help attract foreign investment, Polish newspaper Dziennik Gazeta Prawna wrote, April 24.
â€śAn EU passport is a popular possession, especially in the East,â€ť Oleg Lemeshko from Elma Global, which helps Russians and Ukrainians obtain EU passports, told Dziennik Gazeta Prawna.
The concept itself is nothing new, but it has been rehashed in recent times due to the continued financial crisis, and the heavy toll it is taking on EU member states.
Cypriot citizenship will be awarded to those willing to invest at least EUR 3 mln. Cyprus President, Nikos Anastasiadis, hopes that this will re-attract investors and help the ailing economy, following the unpopular bailout enforced by the Cyprus government on bank deposits earlier this year.
As some experts note, Bulgarian passports are the easiest to obtain. According to data published by its Central Bank, the value of FDI between January and November 2012 reached approximately EUR 1.2 bn, a fivefold decline from the peak it experienced just before the financial crisis hit Europe in 2008/2009.
Bulgariaâ€™s strategy against the uncontrollable outflow of foreign investment is to offer passports. Since the beginning of 2013, only a few conditions must be fulfilled to obtain Bulgarian citizenship. These are; lawful residence in Bulgaria for a year, an investment of EUR 500,000, and the creation of at least ten new jobs.
Other countries such as Austria, have stricter requirements. The petitioner must invest EUR 6-10 mln, and substantially contribute to either increasing the number of new jobs, or improving the know-how of the given industry.
Poland is one of the few EU member states that are not following the passport-investment exchange trend.
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