International citizenship schemes: how do they compare?

Joseph Muscat today said that Malta's citizenship sale is not unlike those sold by EU member states.

Matthew Vella
16 January 2014, 12:00am
MEPs voted in favour of a resolution calling on Malta to amend its citizenship scheme
MEPs voted in favour of a resolution calling on Malta to amend its citizenship scheme

Malta's citizenship sale is to proceed despite a non-binding European Parliament resolution has called on the Maltese government to amend it.

Under the Individual Investor Programme, Malta will sell citizenship to applicants who pass due diligence tests for €650,000 in a donation to a posterity fund, as well as €350,000 in a property acquisition and €150,000 in government stocks and bonds.

MEPs and the European Commission yesterday claimed that Malta's IIP does not respect the spirit of the EU Treaty.

But the Greek presidency of the European Council said Malta is sovereign in its decision to regulate its citizenship rules, which are not in Europe's competence.

Even the Commission said that it did not want to have the power to regulate who can become a national citizen of an EU citizen.

But 89% of the European Parliament, and over 90% of socialist MEPs from Labour's political grouping the EP, voted in favour of the resolution that asked Malta to amend the IIP.

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat today said the IIP would reap €1 billion, and is capped at a maximum of 1,800 applicants and dependents.

The countries compared with Malta are Austria, Cyprus, Belgium, Portugal, Spain, Greece, as well as Ireland and the UK from the non-Schengen EU countries; and Singaore, Canada and the United States of America.

Matthew Vella is executive editor at MaltaToday.