Residence and citizenship by investment programs have come under criticism in the European Parliament in recent months with several MEPs calling for their closure. That – according to Chair in EU Constitutional Law at the University of Groningen, Professor Dimitry Kochenov – would be impossible, unless the European Union first became a superstate.
Speaking to Investment Migration Insider during the 2018 Investment Migration Forum in Geneva this month, Kochenov – a man who should know – pointed out that one of the fundamental premises of the European Union is the sovereignty of its member states and that the prerogative of deciding who makes up their respective nations is an inextricable part of that sovereignty.
“It’s precisely the freedom of the member states to decide who European citizens are which is at the core of how European federalism is framed. So, by removing that core, we’re then speaking about a totally different union; it’s not a union of sovereign nations anymore – which can decide on who the citizens are supposed to be – but a superstate,” said Kochenov.
He also pointed out that while he himself was not necessarily against a “rebranding” of the EU to become more like a superstate, he expected virtually all the individual member states to oppose such a move, explaining that the different countries each had idiosyncratic norms when it came to naturalization.
“If we speak about any kind of harmonization at the European level, that there would be one law on how to acquire EU citizenship […] all these differences are bound to disappear, and the disappearance of these fundamental differences means only one thing; that the member states are not any more entitled to shape the peoples of whom they are the custodians. And this, ultimately, logically, would result in the death of the member states as we know it, so there can be no serious conversation whatsoever about the harmonization of the rules underlying the acquisition of nationality in the member states, under the pretext that those nationalities lead to EU citizenship.”
Watch the full interview by clicking the video above.
Christian Henrik Nesheim is the founder and editor of Investment Migration Insider, the #1 magazine – online or offline – for residency and citizenship by investment. He is an internationally recognized expert, speaker, documentary producer, and writer on the subject of investment migration, whose work is cited in the Economist, Bloomberg, Fortune, Forbes, Newsweek, and Business Insider. Norwegian by birth, Christian has spent the last 16 years in the United States, China, Spain, and Portugal.