Greece does not grant citizenship for investments, the Greek Interior Ministry said on Wednesday in a statement, responding to EU Justice Commissioner Vera Jourova’s claims that “we do not want Trojan horses in the (European) Union”.
In an interview with a German newspaper, Jourova is said to have expressed concern that security risks may arise from the golden visa programs run by EU member states, since holders of “so-called golden passports” have instant access to the Schengen Area.
She said that a common regulatory framework will be on the agenda of the EU this autumn.
“Greece does not belong to the EU member states which grant citizenship for investments, purchase of real estate or other business activities,” the Greek ministry clarified on Wednesday in an e-mailed statement.
“The only change made in 2017 concerns the ability of people who have residency permits to apply for citizenship after seven years of stay in the country. This applies to all categories of holders of residency permits,” the statement read.
“The prerequisites are the same for all applicants (good knowledge of the Greek language etc). Residency permits do not translate to granting of travel documents (passports),” the statement concluded.
Currently various golden visa schemes are in force across Europe in member states of the EU’s visa-free travel zone, such as Greece, but also countries not included in the Schengen.
Under the Greek program launched in 2013, Greece grants residence permits to third country citizens who buy property assets worth more than 250,000 euros (290,000 U.S. dollars) in Greece, as well their family members.
According to the latest official data from the ministry, a total of 2,639 visas have been offered to third country citizens so far.