European Commission Vice President Jyrki Katainen is on a two-day visit to Cyprus, which began on Monday.
Katainen is visiting Nicosia amid discussions on the setting of common EU-wide rules on how EU member states should grant European citizenship to non-EU nationals.
”The European Commission has established an expert group to consider how to create fully transparent rules on the granting of EU citizenship by member states” Katainen said from Nicosia. The rules must be stringent “in order to avoid tax evasion, money laundering or security threats”, according to the Commission Vice President.
“Everyone knows that all European citizens have enormous opportunities. Those who have an EU nationality, have the right to do almost anything they want in our Union,” Katainen noted. He adding that “that is why we need to make sure that we know who the people are in our Union.”
Glad to meet my friend, President Nicos @AnastasiadesCY today. #Cyprus has made remarkable reforms which should continue, and #opportunities are plenty. The country’s future in #Europe is bright. pic.twitter.com/smwHkadg8s
— Jyrki Katainen (@jyrkikatainen) January 28, 2019
Last Wednesday, the European Commission warned that programs some EU states including Cyprus currently offer, which involve selling passports and visas to wealthy foreigners, could backfire badly.
The practice could even help organized-crime groups infiltrate the European Union, and it raises the risk of money laundering, corruption and tax evasion, according to EU officials.
Katainen is set to visit Athens tomorrow, after his departure from Cyprus.
Jyrki Tapani Katainen is a former prime minister of Finland and has served as the European Commission Vice President for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness since 2014.
With information from CNA