As published on schengenvisainfo.com, Friday 30 September, 2022.
The European Commission has confirmed that it will take Malta to the European Court of Justice (ECJ) due to Malta’s Golden Passports program involvement in unlawful affairs.
The Commission has considered that granting EU citizenship in return for pre-determined payments without a genuine link to EU Member State goes against EU laws, SchengenVisaInfo.com reports.
“The Commission considers that granting EU citizenship in return for pre-determined payments or investments without any genuine link to the Member State concerned is not compatible with the principle of sincere cooperation enshrined in Article 4(3) of the Treaty on European Union, and with the concept of Union citizenship, as provided for in Article 20 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,” the European Commission stressed.
The Citizenship by Investment Program (CIP), also known as the Golden Passport program, permits internationals to acquire citizenship in Malta provided they meet specific conditions and contribute financially to this country by investing about 1 million euros ($970,000).
However, the program has often been in the spotlight after it was included in illegal actions several times, as reported by authorities in Malta.
In this regard, the European Union Justice Affairs Commissioner Didier Reynders said that by offering citizenship in exchange for pre-determined payments or investments without a genuine link with the Member State concerned, Malta breaches EU law.
Malta is not the only European Union country that has been continuously urged to terminate its Golden Passport program; the Commission of the EU, as well as EU authorities, have continuously called all the European countries that run such programs to put them to an end as soon as possible after they have been considered an open the door to money laundering, corruption as well as other unlawful affairs.
However, Malta was called several times to end its Golden Passport Program. On October 20, 2020, the Commission addressed a formal notice to Malta, calling on its government to end such a program. Another letter was sent on June 9, 2021, while on April 6 this year, the Commission addressed a reasoned opinion to Malta.
Despite the fact that this European Union country suspended the Golden Passport program for Russian and Belarusian nationals following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Maltese authorities didn’t respond to the Commission’s calls.
As a result, the Commission decided to file a legal challenge against Malta for the Golden Passport scheme.
Previously the Commission started an infringement procedure against Cyprus’ Golden Passport scheme, following the investigative report of Al Jazeera called “the Cyprus Papers,” which brought to light proof that from this program also benefited criminals.