EU investigating Cyprus, Malta ‘golden passport’ programs News
EU investigating Cyprus, Malta ‘golden passport’ programs

The European Commission Tuesday announced an investigation into the “golden passport” schemes of EU member states Cyprus and Malta for “selling” EU citizenship.

The schemes enable investors to obtain EU citizenship by making pre-determined payments to the member states. The European Commission characterized the schemes as inconsistent with the purpose of Article 4(3) of the Treaty on European Union, which calls for sincere cooperation among member states.

The commission’s statement echoes sentiments expressed in a July 2020 resolution calling for the member states to phase out all existing citizenship or residency by investment schemes as soon as possible. The commission also awaits a response from Bulgaria to a request for more information about a similar citizenship-by-investment program before deciding on next steps in the investigation.

The announcement of the investigation comes just over one month of European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen’s State of the Union Address in which she referenced such “golden passport” schemes before proclaiming, “European values are not for sale.”