Today Marietje Schaake submitted the questions below to the European Commission.
On the 17th of September, the Guardian made public various names that feature on a list of 3rd country nationals that have acquired Cypriote nationality through a so-called ‘golden visa scheme’ and hence have become EU citizens. The published list includes both Russian and Ukrainian businessmen as well as (former) politicians.
Under a an earlier, similar scheme for granting citizenship, Syrian businessman and avid supporter of the Assad regime Rami Makhlouf was granted a Cypriote passport in 2010. Cyprus had to subsequently remove Makhlouf’s citizenship when he became the subject of EU sanctions.
Following the imposing of EU sanctions on Rami Makhlouf in 2011 - at the time an EU citizen - what measures and/or coordination efforts have been taken on an EU level to ensure that when granting citizenship, EU member states take into account the political, social and economic background of the person applying for citizenship as well as those considerations the EU and its partners take into account when imposing individual sanctions, so as to avoid a similar situation in the future?
Is the Commission aware of the Guardian’s recent revelation and can she guarantee that no further EU citizenship has been granted to 3rd state nationals that are or were the subject of EU sanctions?