EuropeIntel & Data

Nearly a Year After Closing, Montenegro CIP Has Approved Only 484 of 1,100 Applications

Following a year of brinkmanship, Montenegro’s government finally agreed with the EU to close its citizenship by investment program at the very end of 2022. At the time, only anecdotal and imprecise reports on the number of applications were available. This week, however, Radio Free Europe reports that according to the Montenegrin Investment Agency (MIA), the government body that administered the program, the Montenegrin CIP received some 1,100 applications between 2019 and the program’s end last December.

Of those applications, say officials, 413 remain pending in “various stages of processing.” The same agency states that it has already approved 484 applications. This leaves more than 200 applications unaccounted for. If these represent rejections, Montenegro’s CIP has an exceedingly high rejection rate.

Without providing precise numbers, the MIA indicated a majority of applicants were Russian and Chinese nationals.

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Montenegrin officials have previously indicated the program raised more than EUR 300 million in direct investments and another EUR 100 million in budgetary funds.

Ahead of its decision to terminate the program, then-prime minister Dritan Abazović expressed sympathy for the EU’s concerns about CBI programs, and told reporters he expected the program’s termination to “solve the problem.”

Montenegro is among the countries closest to EU accession at a time when EU expansion plans have been fast-tracked due to the war in Ukraine.

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