Montenegro’s Finance Minister, Aleksander Damjanovic, has said that closing down the Golden Passport scheme would damage Montenegro, according to a Balkan Insight report.
The Minister’s comments came following the European Union’s pressure on the country’s authorities to abolish such a program after reports that it is involved in many illicit affairs, SchengenVisaInfo.com reports.
On Monday, Damjanovic said that 70 million euros are expected from this program in the next year alone.
“From applications that are in procedure and those that have not even started to be solved we expect up to 70 million euros – about 35 million of incomes is certain, but it’s estimated up to 70 million for the next year,” the Minister pointed out.
The Finance Minister emphasized the fact that authorities in Europe continue to pressure this Balkan country in order to put an end to this scheme by 2023. He said that such a step would bring significant damage to Montenegro, stressing that the country needs to find a new way in order to see if there is an effective model to continue with implementation.
In May this year, Prime Minister of Montenegro, Dritan Abazovic, vowed that such a program would be finished on December 31 this year while adding that there would be additional controls in order to make the process more transparent.
In September, Abazovic once again stressed that the program would be ended by the end of this year while emphasizing that applications for this scheme can be submitted.
“The program brought numerous benefits; valuable investments were made through it and new jobs were created. But we also have to respect our EU partner’s requests,” Abazovic pointed out in this regard.
The Golden Passport scheme, also known as the Citizenship by Investment program, permits wealthy internationals to make a financial contribution to the country’s economic sector in order to acquire citizenship.
The data provided by the government of Montenegro revealed that 108 international citizens, the majority of them from Russia and China, have acquired citizenship through the Golden Passport scheme.
Despite being often subject to many critics, Montenegro’s Golden Passport and Golden Visa Programs have brought a significant contribution to the country’s economic sector.
A previous report published by property brokers, Tranio revealed that Montenegro’s Golden Visa scheme, together with those of Portugal, Greece, Spain, and Latvia, are among the favourites for wealthy internationals when planning to acquire residency or citizenship, Schengen Visa Info reports.