EU

EU countries openly trade in passports

Becoming a citizen of an EU country is now much easier. Especially to millionaires.

In order to increase the country’s budget, the Government of Malta decided to sell the right to become a citizen of this country for $ 1.55 million. Such a scheme should bring the “extra” $ 1.35 billion to the Maltese treasury that will be invested in education, healthcare and etc. Very good for a small country whose annual national budget is only 4 billion.

The newly minted citizen of Malta will need to pay $ 880 thousand in cash to the treasury, buy real estate worth at least $ 483 thousand and purchase government loan bonds worth $ 207 thousand. Also, the “new Maltese” is obligated to take an oath of allegiance to the country, after which he will be able to use all the benefits of the newly acquired citizenship. For example, to freely move around 28 states of the European Union, work in any of them and enter without visa in 69 countries outside the EU. According to The Time of Malta, an interest in Maltese citizenship has already been expressed by a former Formula 1 driver, a Chinese billionaire, a well-known pop star, a member of one of the royal families from the unnamed Persian Gulf state, an American media tycoon and a football player from South America.

Despite the fact that EU states have the right to “trade” citizenship, in practice this happens quite rarely. EU Commissioner for Justice Vivian Reading last month expressed concern about this, telling the Maltese that European citizenship “should not be put up for sale.” There are also those who criticize Malta for their intention to sell passports only to wealthy people, while thousands of African migrants are not able to become citizens of this island. “Refugees who have been living here for years, work hard and pay taxes, do not receive Maltese passports. At the very least, have the courage to give passports to everyone. Providing them only to the rich is a manifestation of total xenophobia and cynicism, ”said a spokesman for The Time of Malta. There are also concerns that Malta will follow in the footsteps of Cyprus, which has been repeatedly criticized for attracting entrepreneurs who want to hide their income from taxation in their native countries. Therefore, under pressure from the EU authorities, Malta agreed to require those who wish to obtain citizenship to stay at least a year in the status of resident.

Malta is not the only state trading in its citizenship in the name of strengthening its own economy. For example, Cyprus has reduced the amount of investment required to obtain a passport of this country from $ 13.5 million. up to $ 4.06 million.

Portugal and Belgium also offer citizenship in exchange for a large investment. In order to obtain a residence permit in Spain, you must purchase real estate in the amount of at least 500 thousand euros.

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