GENEVA, /PRNewswire/ --
The European Commissioner for Justice, Věra Jourová has announced her intentions to bring forward a report on Citizenship-by-Investment from December to the Autumn, which will seek to issue new, more stringent guidelines - believing the granting of citizenship poses a serious security risk.
The Investment Migration Council (IMC), which represents the investor immigration and citizenship by investment industry, welcomes the opportunity to respond to comments made by European Commissioner for Justice Vera Jourova on Citizenship by Investment:
Bruno L'ecuyer, CEO of the IMC, comments: "IMC members are compliant to a comprehensive Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct, that addresses issues pertaining to security. As a consequence, significant time and capital is spent by professional firms and governments to ensure the tightest levels of security and background checks are carried out by European and global security agencies. Likewise, Citizenship-by-Investment applications are also vetted against current EU anti-money-laundering and financing of terrorism legislation, and must adhere to legal and regulatory obligations that individual EU states have adopted in line with EU law. It ensures the highest levels of corporate governance and due diligence is in place to prevent any security concerns.
The IMC understands the Commissioner's concerns in respect of security. Nevertheless, the governance, due diligence and transparency of applicants under the Citizenship-by-Investment provisions in Austria, Malta and Cyprus are not a security threat to the EU, given the strict due diligence procedures and background checks on applicants in place.
The Citizenship-by-Investment programmes in the EU process a very small number of applications - approximately 700 to 1,000 per year. By comparison, according to Eurostat, in 2016 a total of 994,800 people obtained citizenship of an EU Member State. Citizenship-by-Investment applicants therefore account for 0.1% of new EU citizenships granted each year.
The concerns of the Commissioner and the EU are of paramount importance and shared by the IMC and our members, as well as the sovereign states offering Citizenship-by-Investment.
We welcome a meeting with Commissioner Jourová to discuss her concerns and demonstrate our confidence in the security measures in place and highlight the societal impact the industry has on local economies and their citizens.
Bruno L'ecuyer concludes: "Citizenship-by-investment programs raise valuable capital for sovereign states. This permits governments, particularly of smaller countries, to reduce deficits and reliance on external funding partners and invest in vital infrastructure to future proof their economies."