Investor citizenship scheme: Commission refers MALTA to the Court of Justice
The European Commission yesterday decided to refer Malta to the Court of Justice of the European Union for its investor citizenship scheme, also referred to as the ‘golden passports'. 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.
On 20 October 2020, the Commission sent a letter of formal notice to Malta, urging it to end its investor citizenship scheme. The Commission sent an additional letter of formal notice to Malta on 9 June 2021, following the introduction of a new scheme at the end of 2020.
Following Russia's war against Ukraine, Malta suspended this new scheme for Russian and Belarusian nationals. While this was a positive step, Malta continues to operate the scheme for all other nationalities and has not expressed any intention to end it.
On 6 April 2022, the Commission sent a reasoned opinion to Malta. Malta's reply did not satisfactorily address the concerns raised by the Commission. Malta is the only remaining Member State that operates such a scheme.
Consequently, the Commission decided yesterday to refer Malta to the Court of Justice of the EU under Article 258(2) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.
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