Tough stand by the EC and EP on Malta to abolish golden passport scheme
VALLETTA (MALTA) (ITALPRESS/MNA) – The European Commission and the European Parliament are putting more pressure on Malta to put an end to its golden passport scheme.
While the European Commission is not excluding to take further steps against the Maltese government following the decision taken by the Maltese Prime Minister not to publish the personal details of Russian nationals who bought the Maltese citizenship, the European Parliament will be taking a vote on Wednesday on a report prepared by Dutch MEP Sophie In’t Veld calling for the stoppage of all citizenship-by-investment scheme by 2025, through a gradual phasing out, proposing that proceeds of such schemes should go towards the EU budget since they are based exclusively on the benefits of the union membership.
The European Parliament has been calling for a ban on the golden passports schemes since 2014. The European Commissioner for Justice Didier Reydners confirmed that the European Commission already started taking action on the schemes and wants to eliminate these programmes. Two years ago, the European Commission launched infringement procedures against Malta and Cyprus regarding the golden passport schemes. While Cyprus stopped its scheme, Malta has only suspended the scheme for Russians and Belorussians following the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Nationalist MEP David Casa said that in the context of the invasion of Ukraine, once there are oligarchs close to Putin who have already acquired European citizenship, sanctions might be avoided. He insisted that those who “already bought their way into Europe through the backdoor” should be investigated thoroughly. “Now that these have become a security issue, enough is enough”.
Following the decision taken by the Maltese Prime Minister not to provide the list of Russians who bought the Maltese citizenship, the European Commission said that such schemes raise inherent security, money-laundering, tax evasion and corruption risks for the Member State concerned and for the Union as a whole. The European Commission added that EU states that systematically offer citizenship in exchange for pre-determined payments and investments, without a genuine link, violates EU law.