The European Commission is expressing ongoing dissatisfaction with Cyprus’s slow revocation process of “golden” passports, which were granted inappropriately and illegally under the Investment Programme. Cyprus is facing 70 non-compliance cases against EU directives and regulations, putting it at risk of hefty fines. The Commission has been issuing warning letters about the scandal since 2015, and has now escalated the matter by sending a reasoned opinion, the final step before referring a country to the European Court. Cyprus is also facing challenges in environmental matters, labor issues, and refugee-migration management.
What is the European Commission’s issue with Cyprus and “golden” passports?
The European Commission has expressed ongoing dissatisfaction with Cyprus’s slow revocation process of inappropriately and illegally granted “golden” passports under the Investment Programme. Despite the programme’s termination three years ago, the Commission has kept the issue open due to infringements against EU directives and regulations, endangering Cyprus with potential hefty fines and economic implications.
The European Commission continues to exhibit dissatisfaction with the slow revocation process of thousands of inappropriately and illegally granted “golden” passports. Despite nearly three years since the termination of the Investment Programme, the Commission keeps the file on the scandal open, indicating a persistent dissatisfaction with the situation.
Continuous Infringement Proceedings
Cyprus finds itself in the middle of 70 non-compliance cases against EU directives and regulations. As a result, the risk of hefty fines becomes more likely. Already, three cases have been referred to the European Court and others are expected to follow shortly. The most crucial case, which poses the potential for severe penalties and consequent economic implications, is the scandal of the “golden” passports.
Historical Negligence and Warning Signals
It is worth noting that the Commission has been issuing warning letters about this particular scandal since 2015. In October 2020, an official warning letter demanded the termination of the Investment Programme. Still, the previous government, under Nicos Anastasiades and DISY, allowed for new applications and hesitated during the initial stages of revocation. This reluctance led the Commission to escalate the matter and send a reasoned opinion on June 9, 2021, the final step before referring a country to the European Court.
Abusive Clauses and Pending Actions
The issue of abusive clauses also introduces serious concerns. The Commission has sent four letters regarding this matter from June 2013 to February 2021. The most recent letter, a reasoned opinion, indicates the final steps before referral to the European Court can occur. The country has already missed the compliance deadline on this EU directive and now faces an immediate risk of court referral and significant fines.
Environmental and Labor Issues
In addition to the “golden” passports, Cyprus also faces significant challenges in environmental matters. With 13 pending infringement procedures, the two most pressing issues concern waste and urban wastewater. Both of these issues have also already been referred to the European Court.
On the labor front, Cyprus is dealing with 13 procedures initiated by the Commission. These primarily concern professions such as engineers and architects, work-life balance, professional qualifications, free movement of workers in the public sector, seasonal workers, and employment agencies.
Cyprus is also struggling to meet EU directives on the management of refugee-migration issues. There are pending procedures concerning the minimum standards for the reception of asylum seekers and the processes to be followed for the revocation of refugee status.
The Road Ahead
As the multiple cases and impending penalties suggest, Cyprus is grappling with a range of complex issues. The scale and severity of these problems indicate that the country will need to make substantial efforts to meet EU directives and regulations. The European Commission continues to monitor the situation closely, as evidenced by its ongoing dissatisfaction with the slow pace of revoking the “golden” passports.
In simple terms, the European Commission is not happy with Cyprus because they are taking too long to revoke “golden” passports that were given out illegally. These passports were part of an investment program that ended three years ago, but Cyprus is still not following the rules and may have to pay big fines. The European Commission has been warning Cyprus about this issue since 2015, and now they have sent a final warning before taking the matter to court. Cyprus also has other problems with environmental issues, labor problems, and managing refugees. Overall, Cyprus needs to do a lot to fix these problems and follow the rules set by the European Union.