• Friday, June 21, 2024
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Bulgaria ends ‘golden passports’ scheme under EU pressure

Bulgaria ends ‘golden passports’ scheme under EU pressure

Bulgaria has bowed to pressure from the EU to end the issuing of so-called “golden passports,” which grant foreigners Bulgarian citizenship in return for investment in the country.

The scheme, which was introduced in 2013, granted Bulgarian and thus EU citizenship to anyone making an investment of more than one million leva (560,000 dollars) in Bulgaria.

The Bulgarian parliament passed an amendment on Thursday to end the practice, which reportedly brought in one-time, rather than sustained investments.

The EU Commission has been putting pressure on Bulgaria, Malta and Cyprus, to halt the practice of issuing golden passports, which were popular as they allow holders the full rights of EU citizenship.

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It included free movement within the bloc.

Brussels said the practice had allowed criminal groups to gain access to the EU, who have in turn been engaged in money-laundering, corruption and tax evasion.

No precise figures for the number of golden passports issued by Bulgaria were available.

A review of all passports issued by Bulgaria under the scheme was to be carried out within the next six months.