By Moustafa Daly
In July 2022, the Albanian government announced that it was working on a citizenship-by-investment program that would soon be available to global investors.
Weary from the EU’s reaction, the government has now announced suspending its plans.
At a recent meeting with the EU-Albania Stabilization and Association Council, Edi Rama, Albania’s prime minister, announced that his government will not be making its CBI offerings soon, according to a joint press release with the VP of the EU commission, Josep Borrell, and the European Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement, Oliver Varhelyt.
Albania was granted EU candidate status in June 2014 and is currently going through accession negotiations to become a member of the European Union.
Albania adjusts to pressure from the EU Commission
The news come after the EU Commission in December 2022 warned Albania against moving forward with the program.
“An investor citizenship scheme may be used to bypass the EU short-stay visa procedure and the in-depth assessment of individual migratory and security risks this procedure entails, including a possible evasion of measures to prevent money laundering and financing of terrorism. This is of great concern for the EU in the context of its visa-free agreement with Albania,” said the EU Commission in its fifth report in 2022, under the visa suspension mechanism section.
The report by the EU goes as far as directly threatening Albania with suspension of visa-waiver agreement should the program see the light.
“The Commission takes the view that, if such schemes are deemed to constitute an increased risk to the internal security and public policy of the Member States, the visa-free regime may be suspended,” further stated the commission.
Albania asserts compliance to EU requests
“Regarding the golden passports, we have made it clear that we have suspended the process until the position is clarified at the European level,” said Rama. “We did not invent this. We took it from EU countries that have implemented it successfully,” added Rama, referring to popular RCBI programs across the continent.
Albania would not be moving forward with its proposed program until, Rama explains, a final agreement is reached that satisfies the EU.
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