EU refers Malta to court docket over controversial ‘golden passport’ scheme

The European Fee has stated it is going to take Malta to court docket over the member state’s “golden passport” scheme.

Overseas residents can purchase Maltese and EU citizenship in change for round €1 million of funding underneath the controversial programme.

The Fee stated in a assertion on Thursday that it determined to refer Malta to the EU’s Court docket of Justice.

Cyprus and Bulgaria had additionally issued “golden passports” however each have since ended, leaving Malta as the one EU nation with such a scheme.

Brussels has lengthy criticised the initiative, arguing it encourages corruption and cash laundering whereas complaining the buyers should not have any obligation to reside within the EU.

“EU values aren’t on the market,” EU Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders wrote on Twitter.

“By providing citizenship in change for pre-determined funds or investments, with none actual hyperlink to the Member State involved, Malta is in breach of EU legislation,” he added.

The EU Fee first launched an infringement process towards Malta in October 2020 to cease the controversial observe.

The Maltese authorities has maintained that its system “doesn’t contravene” the EU treaties and reiterates that its citizenship insurance policies fall inside its nationwide competence.

The sale of passports generated greater than €800 million for Malta between 2014 and 2020, the federal government stated.

The “golden passport” scheme was nonetheless suspended for Russian and Belarusian residents in March following Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.

“Though it is a constructive step, Malta continues to implement the scheme for nationals of all different nationalities and has not expressed any intention to finish it,” the Fee’s assertion learn.

“EU citizenship mechanically offers the appropriate to free motion, entry to the EU inside market, and the appropriate to vote and to be elected in European and native elections.”

“For these causes, the situations for acquiring and shedding nationality, regulated by the nationwide legislation of every Member State, are topic to due respect for EU legislation.”

Some EU nations nonetheless function programmes to promote so-called “golden visas” that enable international buyers to acquire residency.

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