Malta’s green party remains staunchly opposed to selling citizenship to wealthy investors and wants the country’s ‘golden passport’ scheme scrapped before a 2025 cutoff date MEPs are pushing for.
The ADPD said that it was the only political party in Malta to have consistently opposed the scheme and the principle underlying it – that citizenship can be bought.
It dismissed a move by the Nationalist Party to boycott the selection process for a new regulator for the scheme as “posturing”. The PN has said that it will keep the scheme if elected into power.
Malta faces legal action from the European Commission over the scheme, which it wants scrapped. MEPs in the European Parliament have also spoken critically of such schemes. The European Parliament plenary is set to debate a critical report about golden passports next month.
Malta, on the other hand, argues that citizenship is a matter of national sovereignty which Brussels has no say in.
The country is one of three EU member states with citizenship-by-investment schemes. Twelve member states also offer residence-by-investment schemes.
Speaking on Saturday, ADPD electoral candidate Mario Mallia argued that EU member states’ control over citizenship was not absolute, as EU treaties include a ‘loyalty’ clause that requires countries not to do things that negatively impact others.
Mallia argued that many investors who bought a Maltese passport have had run-ins with the law elsewhere and were now in possession of a Schengen passport.
“What is wrong remains wrong,” Mallia said. “European values are not for sale and European citizenship should not be considered as a product to be marketed”.
Party chairperson Carmel Cacopardo emphasised that point and argued that although Malta’s government had revised its golden passport scheme to tighten residency provisions, the revised scheme could still lead to citizenship.
Apart from attracting dubious people to Malta, the scheme had also cast the country in a negative light internationally, as could be seen through the FATF decision to greylist it, he said.
MEPs will be asked next month to vote on a proposal to demand an end to such schemes by 2025, he said, but ADPD believed Malta should scrap its scheme immediately, before it is forced to.
“ADPD is the only party that has consistently insisted that the ‘golden passports’ schemes are not acceptable,” Cacopardo said. “We have voiced our concerns about this since the first scheme was proposed in 2014.”