Cyprus Mail

EP to discuss passport schemes in member states

The European Parliament will be discussing the issue of granting citizenships to third country nationals by member states on Thursday in light of the passport scandal exposed by Al Jazeera in Cyprus.

The discussion concerns the “serious threats and security through the sale of EU passports and visas to criminals.”

The climate is expected to be hostile for Cyprus after recent revelations that top politicians could be involved in the process through dishonest practices.

European Green Party MEP Sven Giegold tweeted on Thursday: “The European Parliament strikes back: Plenary debate on the sale of passports and visas to criminals will take place next Thursday morning. We will demand from the EU-Commission the opening of infringement proceedings to end this dirty business!”

In his tweet, Giegold attached a link with a video filmed by undercover Al Jazeera reporters showing former House president Demetris Syllouris, former Akel MP and developer Christakis Giovanis, and prominent lawyer Andreas Pittadjis, prepared to help a fictitious Chinese businessman with a criminal record secure citizenship.

Both Syllouris and Giovanis have since resigned, as police launched an investigation into the affair.

On Tuesday, the government announced it was ending the programme on November 1.

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