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Albania Suspends Its Golden Passport Program Following EU Pressure

Albania’s Golden Passport Program, warned previously by Prime Minister Edi Rama, may remain an unimplemented plan after the country has officially suspended this scheme.

During the European Union (EU)-Albania Stabilization and Association Council meeting, Albania’s PM confirmed that the much-criticized scheme would not become effective in the near future, reports.

Rama said that the Golden Passport Program promoted previously by the country’s government had been suspended. His comments came during a joint press conference with the Vice President of the European Commission, Josep Borrell, as well as the European Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement, Oliver Varhely.

“Regarding the golden passports, we have made it clear that we have suspended the process until the position is clarified at the European level. We did not invent this. We took it from EU countries that have implemented it successfully,” said Rama.

During the conference, Rama mentioned the fact that there is a case in the European Court. Still, he added that it would not be brought to the table without seeing how the case ends in the European Court, adding that if the Court decides against this scheme, it is a closed issue, but if it determines in the government’s favour, each country will make its own choice.

The scheme was planned to give wealthy foreign investors free passports, provided they bought apartments in the Durres Port.

The Golden Passport scheme or Citizenship by Investment Program (CIP) permits wealthy foreign nationals to acquire citizenship in Albania, provided they make a financial investment and meet the needed conditions.

However, the European Union has continuously criticized all countries that offer Citizenship by Investment and Residency by Investment Programs after, according to the EU, they go against the bloc’s law, also permitting persons involved in unlaw affairs to benefit from these programs.

The European Commission, in its fifth report under the visa suspension mechanism, once again called Albania to refrain from making this program effective.

“Setting up an investor citizenship scheme would be contrary to the recommendations made in the Fourth Report under the Visa Suspension Mechanism and the 2021 enlargement package,” the report noted.

The Commission considered that the program might serve to bypass the EU short-stay visa procedure and also pose security and migratory risks.

In addition, the European Commission warned authorities in Tirana that the scheme would lead to visa-regime suspension, considering the scheme a significant concern for the European Union regarding its visa-free agreement with Albania.

Source:schengen visa information


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