Montenegro no longer offers citizenship for investment
March 24, 2021
4 minutes read
The government of Montenegro has officially announced about the termination of the citizenship by investment program. The CBI program, which has been operating for three years, officially ends on December 31, 2021, as reported by the Cabinet of Ministers of Montenegro.
The main reason for such a sudden decision was the recommendation of the European Commission, which Montenegro is trying to comply, as it plans to join the EU. In addition, the authorities of the country came to the conclusion that foreign investment, received in exchange for citizenship, does not bring significant benefits to the national economy.
Towards EU membership
Montenegro has been striving to become a member of the European Union since 2010, and since 2009 the country has been making efforts to join the Schengen Union. The Montenegrin program came under the spotlight of the EU administration not so long ago. The European Parliament did not insist on stopping the issuance of Montenegrin passports in exchange for investments, but recommended the government to be careful.
Oliver Varghei, a Hungarian member of the European Parliament, opined that each EU member state has the right to formulate its own rules regarding the granting of citizenship. At the same time, the deputy noted, countries must not abuse their powers, taking care of preserving the legal achievements of the European Union.
The Background of the issue
The program for obtaining Montenegrin citizenship by investment was launched in 2019. Since then, 131 foreign nationals have applied for a Montenegrin passport. Applications were sent through official investment agencies. At the moment, the positive decision was made on 37 applications, and 12 applications were rejected as they did not meet the requirements set by the government.
It should be reminded, that the CBI program, available in Montenegro, offers two ways to obtain a local passport: an investment of 450000 EUR, invested in real estate in Podgorica, or in the amount of 250000 EUR, on the purchase of real estate in other parts of the country. In addition, the foreigner must pay a fee of 100000 EUR.
Cyprus, Montenegro... What’s next?
Despite the fact that Montenegro is only preparing to become a full member of the European Union, its citizens have the right to enter 124 countries, including Schengen countries. Wealthy investors from different countries find the idea of Montenegrin passport very tempting and beneficial for business. The thing is that this Balkan country is a member of such organizations as WTO, OSCE, NATO and the EMU (Economic and Monetary Union of the European Union).
Montenegro, with a population of less than 100,000 people, is not the first state that has decided to shut down its national CBI program. The president of Cyprus in February 2021 also announced the suspension of issuing citizenship by investment to representatives of other countries.
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