Citizenship opens Pandora’s Box in Malta

Government’s decision on issuing citizenship to wealthy foreigners meets a range of protests from both Maltese people and opposition politicians.

Huge Mediterranean waves are crashing hard against the shores of Malta. Similar waves, although not that physical, go high in the political debate on issuing citizenship, taking place on the island right now.

In November the newly elected Labour government passed a legislation giving foreigners the opportunity to donate 650.000 € to a National Development fund and become Maltese citizens in return. A legislation which soon caused big turmoil among both politicians and the average Maltese, forcing the government to negotiate with the Nationalist Party in opposition.

”The government expected to pass this law as just another procedure, but what happened was that a Pandora’s box was opened and a lot questions are being raised”, says Sociology professor at University of Malta, Michael Briguglio.

Skærmbillede 2013-12-11 kl. 16.20.30“The fact that we are simply rendering to cash something which is supposed to be a tie to society is a problem,” he states.

The suspicions towards the government are as follows:

The scheme was never mentioned before the elections in March 2013.
The parliamentary process was only a few weeks and the legislation was passed on a Saturday, which is normally used for emergencies.
A ”confidentiality clause” was initially added to the scheme so buyers could remain anonymous – was later scrapped due to protests.
Several international papers has reported on the subject, which could devalue Malta’s economy.
A private company is set to accept the applications. They get a commission for every person accepted.
Malta’s economy is performing well compared to other countries so why is it necessary to issue citizenships?

To unbox the citizenship scheme read the articles below in chronological order:

1. Nationalists object to unique scheme

2. “We are prostituting our country”

3. Maltese identity is a life style

4. Government refuses lack of scrutiny

5. Backtracking will be a strategic masterpiece

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