EU takes Malta to court over ‘golden passport’ scheme – POLITICO


The European Commission announced on Thursday that it would take legal action against Malta’s investor citizenship or “golden passport” scheme.

Under this scheme, Malta offers European citizenship to foreigners in exchange for an investment in the country of around 1 million euros.

As this type of citizenship is issued without ‘any genuine link with the Member State concerned’, it is ‘not compatible’ with the ‘principle of sincere cooperation enshrined in the Treaty on European Union, and with the concept of citizenship of the Union,” the Commission said in its statement, adding that it would therefore refer Malta to the Court of Justice of the EU.

EU Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders tweeted about the decision, saying that “EU values ​​are not for sale”.

The Maltese government said it had taken note of the measures taken by the Commission, but added that it did not believe it breached EU law, local media reported.

The Commission had warned Malta of possible legal action against the scheme in 2020 and 2021, but Valletta has not met demands to end the scheme so far.

Although the country suspended the program for Russian and Belarusian citizens following the invasion of Ukraine, the program is still available for citizens of other countries.

Since the program launched in 2014, Malta has offered the operation to several thousand investors and their family members, according to the Statement by the Commission.

Cyprus and Bulgaria had also proposed similar schemes, raising concerns about security, money laundering, tax evasion and transparency. Cyprus is still closely watched by the Commission, as it only discontinued the program in 2020, but continued to process pending applications until July last year. Bulgaria abolished the regime entirely in 2022.




Politico

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