[WATCH] ‘Citizenship is a national competence’: Junior Minister reacts to EC warning on golden passports scheme

EC President Ursula von der Leyen insisted that the golden passports scheme 'must stop' during a visit to Malta this week

Parliamentary Secretary for Citizenship Alex Muscat
Parliamentary Secretary for Citizenship Alex Muscat

In defence of Malta’s citizenship-by-investment scheme, parliamentary secretary Alex Muscat has insisted that citizenship is a national competence, while the European Commission pressures government to halt the scheme immediately.

He said that government has been in correspondence with the Commission throughout the past months over the issue.

“There’s a point of principle where we’re not precisely agreeing. We believe that whatever relates to citizenship is a national competence. The country decides its competence on citizenship.”

He referred to another country that lowered the need for residency in citizenship to two years, similar to Malta’s citizenship regulations.

“Citizenship remains a national competence of every individual country,” he stated.

His comments come after Ursula von der Leyen, the President of the European Commission, stated during an official visit to Malta that the golden passports scheme must stop.

She added that it was among the topics discussed between her and Prime Minister Robert Abela during a brief visit at Castille on Thursday.

Last year, the Commission initiated infringement procedures against Malta and Cyprus over their golden passport schemes, citing infringements against the treaties of the EU and arguing that the scheme was incompatible with the principle of sincere cooperation.

READ ALSO[WATCH] Malta’s golden passports procedure ‘must stop’, EC President warns