Accepted paper:

"We sell our citizenship because of the 2013 crisis": The EU passport as a global commodity

Authors:

Theodoros Rakopoulos (University of Oslo)

Paper short abstract:

The Republic of Cyprus is "selling" its (EU) passports to elite migrants due to a recent crisis. This paper explores class, the global dynamics of a citizenship as commodity and the internal inequalities this scheme reflects

Paper long abstract:

A uniquely produced crisis, "dealt with" through a banking bail-in in 2013, was the birth moment of a specific type of elite migration in the Republic of Cyprus. Formulated under the auspice of the country's "citizenship by investment scheme", this is a fast-track programme for the naturalization of foreign investors. Cyprus, an EU member situated in the Middle East, and a country suffering a 45-year division sealed by a cease-fire line, is locked in a nexus of difficult citizenship politics, which this scheme (facilitating elite mobility) complicates even further. Such uncomfortable politics concern both Turkish-Cypriots (citizens of the RoC but in practice excluded from the state), Turkish settlers in the North, and of course migrants from both Eastern Europe and the Levant. This paper argues that the ethics of buying citizenship are rooted in the international politics of class, as opposed to bonds between migrant-citizen-state, as the European Union and liberal consensus in general argue. Based on fieldwork with the gate-keeping middlepersons who facilitate the naturalization of the global rich in Cyprus, the paper shall place international and EU dynamics of power in the specifics of a crisis-ridden economy, a basic export commodity of which is now the EU passport.

panel A10
The radical politics of alterity: towards a unified analysis of 'crisis', migration and the workings of power.