EU refers Malta to Court of Justice for ‘golden passport’ scheme
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EU refers Malta to Court of Justice for ‘golden passport’ scheme

The European Commission Thursday referred Malta to the Court of Justice for the European Union for its investor citizenship scheme. Under the Maltese Citizenship Act, persons redering “exceptional services” may receive citizenship. According to the European Commission, Malta essentially provides provides the full benefits of European Union citizenship and “golden passport” in exchange for capital investment. In March, Reuters reported that a Maltese passport was worth an investment of roughly 1 million Euros.

The European Commission denounced this practice in October 2020 and in June 2021 after Malta raised the limit on the amount of people who could be naturalized by investment. Because Malta has failed to address the European Commission’s concerns, the Commission referred Malta to the Court of Justice under Article 258(2) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.

As of 2022, Malta is the only remaining nation in the EU offering this kind of investor scheme. Bulgaria ended the practice in March, and Cyprus ended the practice in June 2021. Malta suspended the processing of investor applications from Russia and Belarus in March.