Dutch politician Petier Omtzigt is prepared to take seriously Albania’s proposed plan to start selling citizenship to people who will invest in the Balkan country.
Omtzigt, a member of the Christian Democratic Appeal and member of parliament, addressed concerns to the Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Prime Minister about whether or not Albania selling passports could threaten national security and whether or not the government is willing to urge the EU again to use the emergency braking procedure for Albania. He also addressed the desire of the Dutch parliament to stop visa-free travel through Europe for Albanians.
Omtzigt posed ten questions to the Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs and Prime Minister. His questions are as follows:
- Have you read the two articles “Rama to Sell Off Albanian Citizenship in “Fantastically Corrupt” Cash-For-Passports Scheme” and “London ballroom hosts showcase event for “golden passports?”
- Is it true that at a Henley & Partners event in London, Albanian Prime Minister Rama has announced that Albania will sell its passports?
- Is it true that in addition to an Albanian passport, one gets a “tax holiday” or tax exemption of ten years and a VAT rate of 6% instead of 20%? What do you think of that?
- Can an EU candidate country promise special income tax and VAT rates to people who buy a passport?
- How do you rate Albania’s decision to sell passports in view of the fact that Albanian citizens can travel visa-free through Europe?
- Does Albania’s decision to sell passports affect national security? If you cannot provide a clear answer, would you like to contact GISS and have them issue advice?
- Do you remember the wish of the Dutch parliament to stop visa-free travel through Europe for Albanians in accordance with the motion by member Van Toorenburg et al. 3 on the suspension of visa liberalization for Albania via the emergency brake procedure?
- Is it true that the European Commission has assessed that the formal criteria of Regulation 2018/1806 have not been met 4? If so, how is the Netherlands now committed to suspending visa-free travel for Albanians?
- Are you willing to urge the European Union again to use the emergency braking procedure?
- Are you prepared to consult with the European Commission on the fact that the Prime Ministers of two candidate countries (Albania and Montenegro) have indicated that they are going to sell passports because this has consequences for the integrity of the European Union? If so, when will you do this and can you inform the House about this in January?
The emergency brake procedure is a way for the Schengen Area to suspend visa-free travel for nationals of certain countries in an “emergency situation.”
The Netherlands had proposed to the EU to suspend visa liberalization for Albanians during the second quarter of 2019 on the assertion that there were six-times more Albanians in the Netherlands than are registered and that they could use visa-free travel to expand their smuggling networks.
The Dutch parliament passed the notion, where it was then sent to the Dutch prime minister, and then on to the European Commission to initiate the emergency brake. Although it was carefully looked over by the European Commission, it was ultimately overturned because there were not enough reasons to suspend Albania from the visa-free regime.