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02 October 2014

EU commission prepares legalchallenge on Malta passport sales

 - Thursday, 23 January 2014, 10:09

The European Commission is laying the groundwork for a legal challenge to Malta’s passport sale scheme despite red lines on national sovereignty, euobserver.com reports today.

The EU treaty says decisions on granting citizenship are the prerogative of member states.

But lawyers for justice commissioner Viviane Reding are looking to file potential infringement proceedings on the basis of article 4.3 of the EU treaty, which also says member states must act “pursuant to the principle of sincere co-operation.”

The logic is that if Malta sells nationality to, say, a Russian oligarch, they are, in fact, selling the right to live in all 28 EU countries, putting fellow member states at risk if Maltese due diligence fails to weed out criminals, euobserver.som says.

EU officials have dug up two files - the Micheletti case of 1990 and the Rottman case of 2008 - in which the EU court in Luxembourg ruled that citizenship decisions must be made with due regard to wider EU law.

They note that the commission cited article 4.3 in recent infringement proceedings on tax reform in Hungary, in which Hungary backed down instead of going to court.

They also note that a ruling by the International Court of Justice in The Hague - the Nottebohm case of 1955 - says that citizenship should only be granted to people who can demonstrate a real bond with their new country, for instance, by living there for a few years before they get their papers.

But Malta is to sell the EU passports after a vetting process of just six months, with no obligation to ever live on the group of Mediterranean islands.

A Reding spokeswoman told EUobserver on Wednesday (22 January) the commission is currently in talks with Malta to settle the dispute in a friendly way.

“She’s not asking to extend the legal power of the commission on who grants citizenship to whom,” the spokeswoman said.

“But we think it’s important to remind member states of the principles that should be taken into account when granting citizenship, which gives you access to full EU citizenship rights,” the spokeswoman added.

The Maltese government could not be reached for a comment on Thursday, euobserver.com said.

EU sources said it has "indicated a willingness" to discuss the issue with Brussels.

But Maltese MEPs from the ruling centre-left Labour Party in Strasbourg last week criticised what they see as an attempt to bully their tiny country, which stands to make €1 billion from the sell-off.

“This attack on Maltese sovereignty is not right. Malta is no longer a colony,” the party’s Marlene Mizzi said at the time.

Meanwhile, the government is ploughing ahead with the scheme despite its “technical-level” talks with Reding’s people.

It published the legal application forms last Friday and potential new EU citizens have begun dropping in to Valletta.

It is also giving special treatment to the wealthy applicants, who are to pay €650,000 in cash and to buy another €150,000 of Maltese stocks or bonds to get their EU perks.

When Maltese media tried to film a Chinese applicant at Malta International Airport this week, security staff let him into a zone normally reserved for "VVIPs," such as government ministers from other countries, to escape scrutiny.

“The question is: If the government is really going to discuss this with the $EU commission, then why is it already going forward with the scheme? … The mind boggles,” Jason Azzopardi, an MP from the opposition centre-right Nationalist Party, told euobserver.com.

 

16 comments

Post Comment
Lina Caruana says:
24 January 2014 23:21

Mr Aquilina ,my last comment . Get your facts right before hurling accusations at people. You are being anachronistic in an uninformed way. I must get on other work as discussing such an issue is waste of time. Thanks for your communication.

Post Reply

joseph debono says:
23 January 2014 23:13

Much has been said about the citizenship for sale scheme and I agree with it. The worrying truth behind this scheme though is that PL has been constrained to play its supposed joker at this early stage. And the more spotlight is focused on this scheem, the more it risks to backfire. What if the government has to scale down its income projections from this scheme? There are apparently no other winning cards close to Joseph's chest from the so called roadmap. Otherwise he would not have come out with this nonstarter at this crucial stage.

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JJ Micallef says:
23 January 2014 20:45

Not to worry hi, ghax issa Cayboy Joe will deliver us from EU evil!

He'll tell Viviane that if she doesn't back off he will take Malta out of the EU!

Then when he actually does, he'll realize he has nothing to prostitute Malta with!

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Joe Martinelli says:
23 January 2014 12:56

This government should make good money from sales of a book written by co-authors Muscat and Scicluna, not push the IIP.
The title of the book?  "HOW NOT TO", with a foreword from Eddy.
It will be a best seller.


Post Reply

alfred aquilina says:
23 January 2014 21:02

EFA IS THE WORST PERSON TO WRITE A  FORWARD SINCE HE HAD QUARRELED WITH THE GERMAN CHANCELOR BECAUSE THE HE OBJECTED THAT MALTA JOINS THE EU. AS A COUNER MEASURE  EFA CLOSED THE GERMAN RADIO STATION BROADCASTING FROM MALTA TO AFRICAN COUNTRIES.
EFA ALSO QUARRELED WITH THE US GOVERNMENT BECAUSE HE LET GO ONE OF THE TERRORISTS THAT  HIJACKED AN EGYPTIAN PLANE WHERE AMERICANS LOST THEIR LIVES. THE USA GOVERNMENT WITHDREW THE AMERICAN AMBASSADOR FROM MALTA AND IT WAS ONLY OPENED AGAIN WHEN DR SANT WON THE ELECTION IN 1996

Post Reply

Joe Martinelli says:
24 January 2014 22:24

ALFRED, WHERE DID I MENTION EFA?
CHECK AGAIN, I SAID EDDY, MEANING EDDY PRIVITEERA.
HAD I INTENDED TO REFER TO EFA, I WOULD HAVE SPELLED HIS NAME RIGHT - EDDIE, NOT EDDY.
'EDDY' MEANS "FLUID CURRENT WHOSE FLOW DIRECTION DIFFERS FROM THAT OF THE GENERAL FLOW"!
NOW DOESN'T THAT DESCRIBE PRIVITEEERA TO A TEE?
MHUX DEJJEM KIEN JITHABAT KONTRA L-KURRENT EDDY TAGHNA?

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alfred aquilina says:
25 January 2014 08:52

MR MARTINELLI OF COURSE I KNEW YOU WERE REFERING TO OUR PL EDDY, I JUST TURNED YOUR PL NEGATIVITY TOWARDS  PN. I HOPE YOU DID NOT HAVE A COPY RIGHT ON YOUR BLOG BECAUSE IT COULD BE EXPENSIVE.. HAVE A NICE AND COMFORTABLE WEEKEND 

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Lina Caruana says:
23 January 2014 12:14

All those who voted yes for the EU will not accept explicit and unlimited confrontation with the EU .The PM needs to be more discerning. Malta Taghna Lkoll

Post Reply

alfred aquilina says:
23 January 2014 21:29

WHY NOT FIGHT FOR OUR RIGHTS? ONLY PERSONS WHO SUFFER FROM INFERIORITY COMPLEX AND READY TO BEND OVER BACKWARDS TO PLEASE THOSE THAT DOMINATE US SAY WHAT YOU SAID.. MALTA WENT BACK THOUSANDS OF YEARS WHEN WE EXPECT THE EU FROM BRUSSELS TO MAKE DECISIONS FOR US. SPINELESS LOT WITH DIFFERENT DNA.

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joseph debono says:
24 January 2014 08:04

With the PL introduction of the citizenship for sale scheme Malta is back to the darkest ages of colonialism. We are not selling our coat. We are selling the coat of others Mr Aquilina. Should we show the EU our dirty teeth too much at the time being, the EU could as well tell us: Thank you, but no. There will be no Chinese billionaire more willing to make it to Malta in his private jet then. It suffices that the US tells us that visas for Maltese would be re-introduced.  We are making ourselves vulnerable with this scheme. We are expecting income by exploiting the good will of others. It also suffices that one of the EU big four, Germany, France, UK and Italy say that it will start checking Maltese passports. We have maneuvered ourselves very quickly into this colonial situation with this scheme but you would not understand this. You have an outdated concept of colonialism and your mindset is totally colonial when you defend this scheme.

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alfred aquilina says:
24 January 2014 11:23

YOU AND YOUR KIND HAVE A HEAD.SET TO BE COLONIAL. EVEN BO INDEPENDENCE WAS PSEUDO COLONIAL. THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN YOU AND US IS THAT YOU HAVE NEVER GROWN TO WEAR TROUSERS BUT REMAINED WEARING SHORTS. WE WILL NEVER UNDERSTAND EACH OTHER AS YOU ALL HAVE A DIFFERENT DNA THAN US PL SUPPORTERS. YOU DON'T BELIEVE IN YOUR CAPABILITIES BUT RATHER TO USE FOREIGNERS BRAINS BECAUSE US MALTESE ARE CWIEC, FAMOUS PN MINISTER WORDS. AS THEY SAY TRUTH ALWAYS COMES OUT WHEN YOU ARE DRUNK, WITH POWER. AS TO THE COUNTRIES YOU MENTIONED THEY BETTER TAKE CARE AS TO THE FREE PASSPORTS THEY ARE SO WILLINGLY GIVING AWAY TO ILLEGAL EMIGRANTS ''. ASK THE USA, ENGLAND, SWEDEN,FRANCE ETC..
YOUR KIND SEND OTHERS TO DO YOUR DIRTY WORK BECAUSE YOU HAVE NO GUTS TO DO IT YOURSELF.WHERE WAS AND IS THE EU AS REGARDS TO THE ILLEGAL EMIGRANTS' MALTA PROBLEM. I AM AND ALWAYS WAS AGAINST JOINING THE EU AND I HAVE MY VOTE ENSHRINED TO PROVE IT. WE LOST WHAT BO AND MINTOFF FOUGHT FOR WITH A STROKE OF A PEN AND JOINED AN ASSOCIATION OF 27 COUNTRIES FIGHTING FOR SURVIVAL AND IF ANYTHING GOES WRONG THEY TAKE US DOWN WITH THEM. LOOK AT ICELAND OUTSIDE THE EU HOW QUICKLY SHE CAME OUT OF RECESION AND YOU KNOW WHAT 'I'M WRITING ABOUT... 

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alfred aquilina says:
25 January 2014 13:14

MR DEBONO THE HALF FULL OR HALF EMPTY BOTTLE ARGUMENT HAS ALWAYS EXISTED AND WILL EXISTS ON ANY ARGUMENT WE CAN THINK ABOUT. WE ALL HAVE BLUE OR RED BLINKERS BUT WE HAVE THE LEISURE TO MAKE OUR OWN MINDS AND EXPRESS FREELY OUR OPINIONS.
I TOTALLY DISAGREE THE WAY THE PN SEE PATRIOTISM NATIONALISM AND COLONIALISM. BEING A SOCIALIST SINCE THE AGE OF REASON I COULD NEVER FATHOM THE PN LOVE FOR OUR COUNTRY WHEN THE LEADERS OF THE PN SIDED WITH FAXISM OF MUSSOLINI AGAINST THE MALTESE AND ALLIES. THEIR PSEUDO INDEPENDENCE ACCEPTED BY BO,  RECENTLY IT CAME TO LIGHT THAT THE ENGLISH PARLIAMENT PEIFERED BO RATHER THAN MINTOFF TO NEGOTIATE  WITH BECAUSE IN THEIR EYES BO WAS A PASS OVER. I STILL THINK BO WAS THE BEST POLITICAL GENTLEMAN I CAME ACROSS. HIS PROBLEM WAS THAT HE WAS TOO MUCH OF A GENTLEMAN.
I WAS NOT THAT ENTHUSIASTIC WHEN MINTOFF WANTED INTEGRATION WITH BRITAIN HOWEVER IN HIS ARGUMENT OF EITHER LIKE THEM OR WITHOUT THEM MADE SENSE.
AFTER 1971  THE PN LEFT THE MALTESE COFFERS EMPTY THEY WERE ALL OUT AGAINST MINTOFF'S FIGHT TO GET MORE MONEY  FROM BRITAIN IN 1971. IN DOING SO MALTA HAD TO START THE MARCH FOR A NEUTRAL AND  INDEPENDENT REPUBLIC BOTH ECONOMICALLY AND FREEDOM FROM ANY SOVREIGN POWER.
WHEN IN 1987 THE PN GAINED POWER, THE PL LEFT HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS  IN THE MALTESE COFFERS AND INVESTMENT FUND THE PN SPENT ALL THE MONEY IN A COUPLE OF YEARS AND NOW ATER 25 YEARS LEFT US WITH 8 BILLION IN DEBT, ENE MALTA KAPUT, SEA MALTA KAPUT, AIR MALTA KAPUT, MID NED BANK KAPUT,AIRPORT KAPUT AND ALL OUR FAMILY SILVER SOLD OR GIVEN AWAY TO FOREIGN COMPANIES.
THE SAD STORY ABOUT ALL THIS IS THAT DURING THE PL BALANCED BUDGETS THE WORD WAS ' AHLEB GUZ AHLEB ' HOWEVER DURING 25 YEARS THE WORDS, AFTER NUMEROUS UNBALANCED BUDGETS WAS ' INHALEB POPLU INHALEB ' THOUGH THE PL PROTESTED AGAINST TH[S RAPE THEY NEVER, I REPEAT NEVER, WENT ABROAD OR THE FOREIGN MEDIA TO PUT TO SHAME THE PN ADMINISTRATION.
AS TO THE IIP QUESTION, ITS THE SAME ARGUMENT BUT WITH A DIFFERENT TWIST. BECAUSE SIMON WANTS TO PROJECT HIMSELF AS A STRONG LEADER AND AFRAID THAT BRINGING BILLIONS TO MALTA IN ORDER TO BETTER THE STANDARD OF LIVING INTHE COUNTRY WITHOUT INCREASING ON THE ALREADY OVERTAXED MALTESE, THE PN WENT TO MAMA EU AND WITH THE HELP OF TWO TRAITORS IS TRYING ITS BEST TO GIVE MALTA A BAD IMAGE, EVEN THOUGH SIMILAR PASSPORT SCHEMES ARE AVAILABLE BY OTHER COUNTRIES WHO VOTED AGAINST US. TO THINK WE WERE TOLD THAT VOTING EU MEANT PARTNERSHIP. WHAT A JOKE.
THROUGH THE CENTURIES THE MALTESE HAVE BUILT AN ADVERSE NAME TO TRAITORS, WE CALL THEM  GAKBINI, WHOSE NAMES ARE DESPICABLY WRITEN IN THE MALTESE HISTORY.

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Lina Caruana says:
24 January 2014 12:11

Kindly invert your statement on people who think like you. And are ignoring those who voted yes for EU. Not to dominate. Do you not believe in partnership? It is the specific partnership you are talking about .Sort out your argument in a reasonable way.

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alfred aquilina says:
24 January 2014 17:13

MS CARUANA WHO TOLD YOU THAT THE MAJORITY VOTED FOR THE EU. IF YOU COUNT THOSE WHO VOTED NO AND NON VOTERS THE MAJORITY IS FOR THE LATTER. EU WAS FORCED DOWN OUR THROAT BY AN EFA. SO IF THE YES VOTERS DON'T LIKE US TO STAND WITH OUR HEAD HELD HIGH CONFRONTING THE EU INSTEAD ON OUR KNEES, TOUGH LUCK. WE ARE DEFENDERS OF THE MALTESE STATE NOT TRAITORS. WE ARE NOT READY TO BEND OVER BACKWARDS TO PLEASE BRUSSELS BUT READY TO FIGHT FOR WHAT IS OURS BY RIGHT. WE LEAVE THE COWARDLY HUMBLE APPROACH TO SIMON AND HIS WILLING GANG.

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Brian Ellul says:
23 January 2014 11:12

Good one Joseph! Milli jidher ha tkompli taqa ghan-nejk

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alfred aquilina says:
24 January 2014 11:35

WE WAIT AND SEE. REWARD IS FOR THE BOLD

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