EU suing Malta over passport sales? Insufferably buttoned-up is their hard-won brand!

The Skinny | No 159 – The Passports Pastizzi Yard Sale Conundrum

What are we skinning? The European Commission hauling Malta’s limestone booty to court over the island’s insistence on selling passports to rich foreigners.

Why are we skinning it? Because it marks a significant escalation of previous attempts to do the same, with the continent’s ruffian teenage child refusing to yield to the adults in the room yet again.

But is it really all that fair to single Malta out on this? How do you mean?

Other countries also sell passports. Cyprus and Bulgaria have stopped doing so. Malta is literally the last one standing here.

Can you blame our government for keeping on keeping on, though? Yes I can, because the scheme is not the most pleasant of propositions in whatever light you may choose to look at it… and yes, that includes the nakedly pragmatic financial one.

But naked pragmatism is what the Maltese are all about. I would say it’s more like: pragmatism decked out in a sheer dress hidden under layers upon layers of crucifixes and rosaries but yes, your broad point still stands.

And let’s not forget that the EU has treated Malta with kid gloves on so many other things. That’s true. From unsustainable hunting practices to the human rights lacuna that is the total abortion ban, Malta’s gotten away with a lot since its accession into the EU in 2004.

Now we’ll even be allowed to carry on consuming gas and electricity as per usual. It’s almost as if the continent didn’t experience any significant rumbles since February of this year…

It’s a regular party up here in Malta town. Indeed, who wouldn’t want to splurge on a passport and join in the fun?

I hope the EU is happy in its role as party pooper extraordinaire. Fairly certain that being insufferably buttoned-up is their hard-won brand.

Do say: “While matters of internal governance should indeed be the sovereign right of any individual EU member state, the passports scheme blurs that line by effectively allowing the purchase of blanket access to all EU states. The gnashing of teeth by the government is understandable, but so is the EU’s action.”

Don’t say: “I would be willing to sell my Maltese passport for 1.1 million to whoever will take it. No need to give me one in exchange – the bucks will smooth over any statelessness angst.”