EU official urges tougher checks on citizenship bids
BRUSSELS - Associated Press
The European Union’s justice commissioner is criticizing some member countries’ practice of awarding "golden passports" to rich people from outside the bloc, urging them to do more to ensure that citizenship isn’t given to criminals.
Brussels argues that citizenship should be awarded only in cases where there is a genuine link to the country concerned, but decisions are a matter for individual countries. Malta and Cyprus are among those that have drawn criticism.
Justice Commissioner Vera Jourova told Tuesday’s edition of German daily Die Welt that awarding citizenship can be a "serious security risk" because it confers rights including free movement inside the 28-nation EU.
She said "some countries must do more so that citizenship is not awarded to criminals who want to endanger Europe’s security or engage in money-laundering."