Muscat Says Second Citizenship Programme Will Be More 'Exclusive', But European Commission Is Worried

16th November 2017

The European Commission does not even have a list of names of people who are being granted citizenship under the Maltese IIP scheme.

With the first phase of Malta’s Individual Investor Programme drawing to a close, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said that the government has a strong mandate to renew the programme.

He added that given experience with the first programme, the second Citizenship by Investment Programme will be even more exclusive so as to keep attracting the right kind of people, as has been done throughout the first three years.

Addressing the 11th Global Residence and Citizenship Conference in Hong Kong, Muscat stated that more countries are introducing citizenship and residency programmes which is a welcomed development as it creates an ecosystem of regulators and policy makers who can share best practices.

The Prime Minister suggested that due diligence conducted by various countries who have similar residence and citizenship programmes can be shared by adopting blockchain technology, making it more transparent while simultaneously sharing resources.

While the citizenship programme is widely considered as one of the key factors behind Malta’s ‘economic miracle’, it appears to be troubling various quarters for its secrecy and lack of transparency. In comments to The Business Observer, European Commission spokesman Christian Wigand revealed that the European Commission does not even have a list of names of people who are being granted citizenship under the Maltese IIP scheme: “As national citizenship is the precondition for EU citizenship and the entry door for Treaty rights, the Commission is monitoring closely the application of investors' schemes granting national citizenship in member states,” he said.

Mr Wigand also revealed that the Commission has now started working on a “fact finding study” on Malta’s citizenship scheme: “Work on the fact-finding study to prepare the Commission’s 2018 report is under way. In the context of this study, we will look at practical implementation of investor citizenship schemes in all member states where such schemes exist.”

Rebecca Anastasi - 17th November 2017

His words were reiterated by Malta Chamber of Commerce President Frank V. Farrugia, who also pointed to the recent PANA report.

14th November 2017

The awards were organised to honour the achievements of Malta-based companies seeking to do international business by selling their products and services abroad.