EU commission takes Malta to court over ‘golden passport’ scheme

Thu, Sep 29, 2022
By editor


THE European Commission is taking Malta to court over a contested “golden passports” or citizen investment scheme, the EU executive arm announced on Thursday.

Giving citizenship “for pre-determined payments or investments without any genuine link” to an EU member state ran counter to the union’s principles, the commission said in a statement.

The commission had been putting pressure on Malta, Bulgaria and Cyprus to halt the practice of issuing golden passports, which were popular as they allowed holders the full rights of EU citizenship, including free movement within the 27-country bloc.

Brussels said  the practice had allowed criminal groups to gain access to the EU, who had  in turn been engaged in money-laundering, corruption and tax evasion.

“In March, Bulgaria bowed to pressure to end the scheme. Cyprus did so the previous year. Malta is only country still offering golden passports, ’’ the commission said.

The commission added that the Mediterranean island country ended the citizen investment scheme for Russian and Belarusian nationals in the aftermath of the Ukraine war, “a positive step”.

Malta, however, continued to operate the scheme for other nationalities and “has not expressed any intention to end it,” the EU executive arm said.

The case now goes to the European Court of Justice, the latest step in a so-called infringement procedure that could potentially result in a fine against Malta. (dpa/NAN)