EU Commission Vice President calls for transparency regarding passport schemes

European Commission Vice-President for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness, Jyrki Katainen called on Monday for more transparency regarding passport schemes run by EU countries that allow foreign nationals to acquire citizenship through investment.

Whether we like or not this will be an issue at European level in the future, Katainen said regarding golden passports and visas, during a joint session of the Parliamentary Committees on Financial and Budgetary Affairs and on Foreign and European Affairs.

Many member states are very concerned about this. There are also negative examples that golden passports have been provided to persons who have had some unclear activities in some countries such as money laundering and tax evasion, he told Cypriot MPs.

We need a clearer common understanding on this in order to improve transparency. All member states share the view that we cannot do anything that would jeopardise security, we cannot support money laundering, we cannot support tax evasion and that’s why we need to discuss with the member states how do we improve transparency because is the best guarantee that we understand each other and that the system is fair and secured”, he remarked.

On the proposal for a Common Consolidated Corporate Tax Base, Katainen told the MPs that the idea behind this is that profits should be taxed by the country where profit has been made, noting that currently we have tax competition which is based on unfair practices. It’s not fair that companies do profit shifting to the countries where tax structure is different the Vice President said. We need a common understanding what to tax and then everybody can decide freely how much to tax.

Katainen referred to some initiatives implemented by the EU during the last four years. We have the most advanced climate legislation in Europe, Europe is the only jurisdiction which has legally binding emission reduction targets. We have set up a better functioning border control system. We are creating a more sustainable plastic policy. The Capital Market Union has brought significant changes to the European capital market he stressed, adding that these are a few examples of the initiatives which have come from the member states, the business world and the civil society. So in two years’ time EU for sure will be more integrated than it is today, but people don’t know this enough said Katainen, who encouraged the MPs to ask their voters what they expected from Europe and what are the most important issues which should be solved at European level.

The European Commission Vice President also noted that Russia’s involvement in elections and referendums such as the Brexit referendum and the US stance over climate change, multilateralism and trade are challenges the EU is faced with.

However, he said that the EU is also challenged from within. Our union is based on liberal democratic values but currently unfortunately we have some political leaders, for instance in Poland, in Hungary in Romania who are putting liberal democratic values in question, the whole EU, all of our member states are based on the values of human dignity, freedom of press, freedom of expression, human rights, politically free judiciary etc and now these values are put in question. In my opinion this is the biggest threat for Europe. There’s no EU if we don’t have a joint value basis said Katainen. He noted that strong national leadership is needed to send messages to the people of those member states that it is not normal what is happening in those countries.

He also noted that the next European Commission should focus on artificial intelligence, circular economy, climate policies and climate change, security and defence cooperation and the future of Africa.

Source: Cyprus News Agency