The Sale of Conditional EU Citizenship: The Cyprus Investment Programme Under the Lens of EU Law

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Table of Contents: I. Introduction. – II. The unique case of the Cyprus Investment Programme. – III. Restrictions on free movement of capital. – III.1. Capital movement, its restrictions and justifications. – III.2. Application of these principles to the Cypriot case. – IV. Citizenship of the EU. – IV.1. Investment migration schemes in the EU and the evolving nature of Union citizenship. – IV.2. The Cyprus Investment Programme: revocation of Union citizenship, discrimination, family members and the right to leave. – V. Conclusions.

Abstract: This Article focuses on the consequences of the acquisition of Cypriot citizenship through Cyprus’s new Investment Programme, adopted in 2013. One of the criteria for the acquisition of citizenship is the investment of Euro two million in Cypriot banks, immovable property or companies which must be retained on Cypriot territory for at least three years. However, immovable residential property to a value of Euro 500,000 must be retained in Cyprus indefinitely or there is a risk of citizenship being revoked. These criteria raise concerns, particularly in light of EU law on citizenship and the free movement of capital. This Article analyses the possible violations of EU law in this context and argues against the conditional nature of the citizenship provided by the Programme, which results in violation of the free movement of capital and restricts the genuine enjoyment of the status of EU citizenship. Case law by the Court of Justice and academic literature analysing the right to the free movement of capital and revocation of citizenship in an EU context will be examined to determine the repercussions of the Cyprus Programme. This topic is extremely relevant today, as it sheds light on the developing nature of EU citizenship and the relationship between EU citizenship rights weighed against the national interests of the Member States.

Keywords: investment migration – EU citizenship – revocation of citizenship – free movement of capital – non-discrimination – Cyprus Investment Programme.

European Papers, Vol. 3, 2018, No 3, pp. 1265-1288
2499-8249 - doi: 10.15166/2499-8249/269

* Corporate Administrator, PHC Tsangarides LLC,


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