EU must act against alleged illegal passport selling in Bulgaria

Man holding Bulgarian passport

Leading S&Ds are calling for the European Commission and European Parliament to look into the allegations of illegal selling of passports in Bulgaria. Leading politicians from the governing party have been dragged into the scandal, including Deputy Prime Minister Krasimir Karakachanov, the former justice minister Ekaterina Zaharieva (now foreign minister) and EPP/GERB MEP Andrey Kovatchev, who is also vice-president of the EPP Group in the European Parliament.

S&D Group vice-president Josef Weidenholzer MEP said:

“The allegations that senior Bulgarian politicians have been involved in a scheme to illegally sell passports to thousands of foreign nationals for €5000 is shocking. Under the scam, prosecutors say applicants paid to obtain a fake certificate of Bulgarian origin - which then allowed them to apply for a Bulgarian passport. This has a significant effect for the EU as those who obtain a Bulgarian passport gain the right to travel and work in all EU countries.

“This type of scandal weakens trust in our Union and brings serious questions about fairness and security. It is particularly shocking because senior members of the current administration have been implicated in the scandal. We demand that the European Commission investigates fully what has taken place and that action is taken if the allegations are proved.”

Member of the S&D Group bureau, Péter Niedermüller, added:

“This is the latest example of European governments putting EU citizenship up for sale. This opens our doors to the possibly criminal and corrupt. It is depressing that the countries that howl loudest against migrants and refugees, suddenly go very quiet when those coming in spend large sums of money.

“What has taken place in Sofia raises serious concerns for the whole of Europe. It is essential that the EU investigates it fully. We want the European Commission to investigate the illegal selling of passports in all EU countries and the European Parliament to look in more detail at this scandal and take all appropriate measures.”