By Uglobal Staff
Montenegro will stop its citizenship-by-investment program by the end of this year, according to an official government statement. The Montenegrin Cabinet has decided the CBI program will expire at the end of its 3-year period, which is on Dec. 31, 2021.
The main reasons cited for the decision were the concerns of the European Commission that could potentially have an adverse impact on the country’s EU accession plans as well as a lack of a significant financial boost to the economy.
Montenegro’s EU accession process has been ongoing since 2010 while the country has been a part of EU’s Schengen zone since 2009. The Montenegrin CBI program has come under the spotlight at the EU parliament and while it has not officially forbid the country from continuing with its program, it did express caution when doling out citizenship. In May 2020, Hungarian lawmaker Oliver Varhelyi, on behalf of the European Commission, said that while it was for each EU member state to lay down its own rules on nationality, “candidate countries (like Montenegro) should use their prerogative to award nationality in a spirit of sincere cooperation and should refrain from any measure which could jeopardize the attainment of the Union's objectives.”
Since the program began in 2019, Montenegro has received 131 applications requesting citizenship via its official investment agencies, according to the statement. Out of these applications, only 37 applications have, so far, met the conditions and were deemed to have “resolved positively”, while 12 others were rejected, it added.
The country’s CBI program offers two routes: the 450,000-euro investment in real estate in the capital Podgorica, or the 250,000-euro investment in real estate in other parts of Montenegro. An additional 100,000-euro fee is also required to the government.
Although not an official EU country yet, the Montenegrin citizenship offers applicants visa on arrival or visa free travel to 124 destinations, including the Schengen area. Investors also find Montenegro attractive for the fact that the country is a member of the World Trade Organization, NATO, OSCE and the European Monetary Union.
The small Balkan state, whose population is less than 1 million, is not the only country which recently has stepped back from its CBI program. In February, the Cypriot president announced that Cyprus will not be replacing its suspended CBI program.
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