EU-Member Slovenia to Evaluate Citizenship by InvestmentSeptember 24, 2020
Some two months following the formation of a coaltion government in March this year, Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Janša established the Strategic Council for Debureaucratization, a new government advisory body with a mandate to identify and cut red tape, to digitize public services, to reduce taxes, as well as to find ways of attracting more investment and high income-earners.
The prime minister appointed one Ivan Simič as his new deburaucratization-czar, a man who, ironically, is himself a career bureacrat, having served as the head of both the Serbian and Slovenian tax administrations.
Following four months of deliberations, the advisory council this week presented a comprehensive list of recommendations to the government, which included proposals for residence and citizenship by investment programs.
Questioned during a press conference as to what, precisely, such a program might look like, Simič explained that it remained an early-stage idea and that it would be up to the government to draw up a plan for how it would work in practice, according to SVET24.
The Council, he indicated, believed that more foreign investors could be persuaded to inject capital in Slovenia if they were offered residence permits or citizenship in exchange. For a certain amount, he pointed out, investors might automatically acquire “a certain status in Slovenia and, consequently, in the European Union,” an offer he characterized as potentially very tempting. Simič took care to point out that, of course, number of “filters” would be in place to ensure the scheme could sift out “suspicious” businesspeople.
The Ministry of Finance will now proceed to formally evaluate the Council’s proposals, which encompass recommendations ranging from how building permits are issued to how cryptocurrencies should be taxed. Also included was a proposal to offer a flat 10% tax on individuals whose annual income exceeds a million euros, a measure Simič hopes will entice professional athletes and other high income earners to take up tax residency in Slovenia.
The Balkan peninsula has been abuzz with talk of citizenship by investment over the last year. In November 2019, Albania’s Prime Minister, Edi Rama, said he “strongly believed” that a citizenship by investment program (CIP) was “the right way and something we have to do”. Upon learning of Rama’s statements, then-European Justice Commissioner Vera Jourova promptly warned him of the potential consequences to his country’s EU membership aspirations.
Following the long-running success of its golden visa, Balkan neighbors Greece has flirted with the notion of offering citizenship to investors as well, although very little has been mentioned of it since last year. The Montenegrin CIP by all accounts, is up and running at full speed after a slow start last year. Unverified reports hint at a possible North Macedonian program coming online next year.
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