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Investor citizenship schemes: European Commission opens infringements against Cyprus and Malta for ‘selling' EU citizenship

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The European Commission is launching infringement procedures against Cyprus and Malta by issuing letters of formal notice regarding their investor citizenship schemes, also referred to as ‘golden passport' schemes. The Commission considers that the granting by these member states of their nationality – and thereby EU citizenship – in exchange for a pre-determined payment or investment and without a genuine link with the member states concerned, is not compatible with the principle of sincere co-operation enshrined in Article 4(3) of the Treaty on European Union.

This also undermines the integrity of the status of EU citizenship provided for in Article 20 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. The Commission considers that the granting of EU citizenship for pre-determined payments or investments without any genuine link with the Member States concerned, undermines the essence of EU citizenship. The Cypriot and Maltese governments have two months to reply to the letters of formal notice. If the replies are not satisfactory, the Commission may issue a Reasoned Opinion in this matter. The full press release is available online.

coronavirus

Commission approves €500,000 Cypriot scheme to support pig sector in the context of the #Coronavirus outbreak

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The European Commission has approved a €500,000 Cypriot scheme to support the pig sector in the context of the coronavirus outbreak. The scheme was approved under the State Aid Temporary Framework. The public support, which will take the form of direct grants, will be open to any natural or legal person who owns or manages a pig unit in which breeding sows are reared.

The Commission found that the Cypriot scheme is in line with the conditions of the Temporary Framework. In particular, (i) the aid does not exceed €100,000 per beneficiary as provided by the Temporary Framework for undertakings active in the primary agricultural sector and (ii) the scheme will run until 31 December 2020.

The Commission concluded that the measure is necessary, appropriate and proportionate to remedy a serious disturbance in the economy of a member state, in line with Article 107(3)(b) TFEU and the conditions set out in the Temporary Framework. On this basis, the Commission approved the measures under EU state aid rules. More information on the Temporary Framework and other actions taken by the Commission to address the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic can be found here.

The non-confidential version of the decision will be made available under the case number SA.58340 in the state aid register on the Commission's competition website once any confidentiality issues have been resolved.

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Cyprus

#Erdogan says no threats can deter #Turkey operations in #Mediterranean

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No threats can deter Turkey from seeking natural resources in the eastern Mediterranean, President Tayyip Erdogan (pictured) said on Wednesday (19 August), adding that Ankara expects actors in the region to take steps to de-escalate tensions, write Tuvan Gumrukcu and Ali Kucukgocmen.

Greece and Cyprus are locked in a dispute with Turkey over overlapping claims to areas potentially rich in resources. Two Turkish survey vessels are in areas claimed by the three countries. On Tuesday, Cyprus said it was willing to engage with all its neighbours on defining maritime boundaries.

“Turkey is determined to seek its rights in the eastern Mediterranean until the end,” Erdogan said in a speech in Ankara. “No colonialist power or threat can deter our country from the oil and natural gas resources believed to be in the region,” he said, adding Ankara wanted to solve the dispute through dialogue and diplomacy, rather than escalate tensions.

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coronavirus

Commission approves a Cypriot scheme to support newspapers affected by #Coronavirus outbreak

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The European Commission has approved a €106,000 Cypriot scheme to support newspaper companies in the context of the coronavirus outbreak. The scheme was approved under the state aid Temporary Framework. The public support will take the form of direct grants to newspaper publishers that have experienced a loss of their turnover due to the coronavirus outbreak. The scheme aims to ensure that the disruptions caused by the outbreak do not undermine the viability of the publishers and thereby preserve the continuity of economic activity. The Commission found that the scheme is in line with the conditions set out in the Temporary Framework. In particular, the amount of aid granted will not exceed €800,000 per company.

The Commission concluded that the measure is necessary, appropriate and proportionate to remedy a serious disturbance in the economy of a member state, in line with Article 107(3)(b) TFEU and the conditions set out in the Temporary Framework. On this basis, the Commission approved the measure under EU state aid rules. More information on the Temporary Framework and other actions taken by the Commission to address the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic can be found here.

The non-confidential version of the decision will be made available under the case number SA.57762 in the state aid register on the Commission's competition website once any confidentiality issues have been resolved.

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