On the 29th of September 2022, the European commission has referred the country of Malta to the European court over the controversial golden visa scheme provided by the country under. The EU took Malta to the court under the Article 258(2) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.
In this scheme, the foreign citizens can buy Maltese and EU citizenship in exchange for around €1 millions of investment under the controversial programme.
Brussels and several other European countries criticised the initiative, arguing that it encourages corruption and money laundering while complaining the investors do not have any obligation to live in the EU. While Bulgaria and Cyprus also issued and later revoked this scheme in 2021, following investigations and allegations over corrupt scheme practices.
However, The Maltese government contents that ‘its’ system "does not contravene" the EU treaties and reiterates that its citizenship policies fall within its national competence. The sale of passports generated more than €800 million for Malta between 2014 and 2020, the government said.
The European Union justice affairs Commissioner Mr. Didier Reynders, expressed that ‘European Union values are not for sale,” ‘By offering citizenship in exchange for pre-determined payments or investments, without a genuine link with the member state concerned, Malta breaches EU law,”
What is a golden visa? And why do some countries give it?
Golden visas offer opportunities to people with high financial statuses to essentially ‘buy’ the right to residency - sometimes without even having to live in the country. Generally getting the right to live and work in another country can be a long and difficult process. With unsettled political and social environment , people look to move away from such decisions like the case of Brexit, without affecting their life and business work.