Overwhelming majority votes in favour of EU report to abolish ‘golden passport’

A European Parliament vote to ban citizen by investment schemes across EU member states passed through parliament on Wednesday with an overwhelming majority. Out of 681 vote, 595 MEPs voted in favour of adopting the report, while 12 voted against and 74 abstained.

The report was written up by Dutch MP Sophie In’t Veld and contains proposals for the European Commission to begin writing its own. The report calls for passport schemes to be phased out by 2025, and for tighter regulations and measures targetting anti-money laundering and intermediary regulation.

Malta’s four MEPs from the Labour Party were the only members of the S&D Group not to vote in favour.

In a press conference hours before the voting process, In’t Veld said the European Commission should try to find ways to stop the schemes. “The issue was first raised in 2017, with assassinated journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia among those who reported on corruption in connection to the scheme in Malta. The Commission has done little to nothing. There has been no coherent approach,” In’t Veld said.

The MEP said the Commission is hoping that countries will phase out the scheme on their own, however it is only through legislative action that the practice could be curbed.

On Monday, European Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders told the parliament’s plenary session in Strasbourg that Malta must not only act to stop Russian and Belarusian citizens from purchasing Maltese passports but must consider removing this activity completely.

Reynders clarified that the Commission “(doesn’t) want any golden passports anywhere”.

The Maltese government has remained defiant on ending the passport scheme, despite fellow member state Cyprus doing so when faced with infringement procedures that have also been launched against Malta. In light of the recent invasion of Russia into Ukraine,  EU sanctions triggered a renewed drive to bring the sale of passports to a halt.

The government eventually halted the scheme for Russian and Belarusian citizens following international pressure. But the vote today clearly shows that is not enough.

In her press conference on Wednesday, In’t Veld rubbished claims by Parliamentary Secretary for Citizenship Alex Muscat, arguing that the scheme was still a golden passport scheme. “These schemes are letting into the EU very unsavoury characters and shady business, and this must stop,” she said.

                           
                               
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Oliver
Oliver
2 months ago

Henley & Partners can now pack and leave Malta. They destroyed Malta’s reputation together with Labour. They made millions of euro. We got greylisted. What an injustice.

carmelo borg
2 months ago

U hafna maltin profesjonisti Avukati accountants kif ukoll kumpaniji tal finanzi ghamlu kemmxa flus. Kien u miz zewg partit jekk joghgbok.

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