The European Parliament’s (EP) civil liberties committee approved a draft Tuesday to end golden passports and to introduce EU-wide rules on residence permits based on investments. 

The EP’s Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs adopted a draft legislative initiative report that would ban citizenship by investment schemes in the EU, the EP announced in a statement.

So-called “golden passports” allow non-EU nationals to get citizenship from a EU country if they invest a certain amount of money in the state.

The schemes are “objectionable from an ethical, legal and economic point of view, and pose several serious security risks” and undermine the essence of EU citizenship, according to the draft.

The proposal would phase out golden passports and would only allow residence by investment or so-called “golden visa” schemes with strict and common rules within the bloc, such as thorough background checks, physical presence in the country and quality contribution to the economy.

The text would also impose transparency rules on intermediary companies that manage the golden visas application process for a certain fee.

“Member states’ governments sell what is not theirs to sell, exploiting the reputation of the EU for profit. Their cynical business is putting our common security in danger,” said the file’s rapporteur, Dutch EU lawmaker Sophia in’t Veld, pointing out that EU citizenship embodies freedom and rights.

Bulgaria, Malta and the Greek Cypriot administration of Southern Cyprus offer golden passport schemes, while 12 other EU countries have golden visa schemes.

Between 2011 and 2019, at least 130,000 golden passports and visas have been issued in the EU, bringing more than €21.8 billion ($24.7 billion) in revenue for the countries.

EU lawmakers will vote on the draft at a plenary session in March.

If the text is approved with an absolute majority, the European Commission will be bound to prepare a legislative proposal.

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