President Nicos Anastasiades on Wednesday defended his government’s citizenship-for-investment programme following criticism by members of the European Parliament, during the debate on the Future of Europe.
The President replied to questions by MEPs on the Cyprus problem, the Government’s economic policy and Cyprus’ Investment Programme.
Anastasiades said that Cyprus has been targeted regarding its Investment Programme, in the framework of which non–Cypriot entrepreneurs, investors and members of their families are granted Cypriot citizenship under specific criteria and terms.
He stressed that over the last five years Cyprus has granted citizenship to no more than 4,700 persons, a number that corresponds to 0.3% of the total number of citizenships granted by the other members of the EU. He noted that the Government has introduced criteria and has been scrutinised by Moneyval, the Council of Europe’s monitoring mechanism in the fight against money laundering and the financing of terrorism.
Responding to criticism on the Cyprus problem, the President underlined that the Greek Cypriot side has made significant concessions over the last 44 years and has made “a historic but painful compromise” by accepting the bizonal bicommunal federation, political equality and effective participation in the institutions of the federal government.
Anastasiades said that the two sides would have been closer to a solution in Crans-Montana, last year, had the Turkish Cypriot side and Turkey accepted the parameters set by the Secretary General of the United Nations.
The Greek Cypriot side, he added, insists on the resumption of the talks from the point they stopped in the summer of 2017, and expressed his determination to cooperate with the Special Envoy of the Secretary General, Jane Holl Lute, due in Cyprus in the next days.
Anastasiades made it clear that the Greek Cypriot side seeks a viable and functional solution and for this reason the terms put forward by the other side cannot be accepted.
(Cyprus News Agency)