There really isn’t anything money can’t buy in this time and age. The Maltese government reconfirmed that concept by allowing non-EU citizens to purchase legal documentation to live, travel and work in all 28 EU states. Applicants with $880,000 set aside can now become bona fide citizens, as long as they are willing to buy Maltese real estate and stocks/bonds.
In an attempt to raise some considerable funds, the country asked British consultancy firm Henley & Partners to be the overseers of this controversial scheme, which in turn will receive a 4 percent cut of the total passport fees.
With up to 20,000 new citizenships up for grabs, Malta is looking to reel in €1 billion ($1.35 billion) – a large sum considering the nation’s national budget is just €3 billion a year - before closing down the program. Applicants with spouses, close relatives, or children under 26 years of age can purchase additional passports for €25,000 and €50,000, depending on the circumstances.
In an interview with the EU Observer, Kurt Farrugia, the spokesman of Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said:
“We have a strong economy. We’re doing this to attract reputable people who can invest in the country.”
While it might be a swift way to accumulate funds, this financial scheme is stirring up some serious controversy among Members of Parliament who are worried about the bad image associated with the dealings. The European Parliament will hold a debate on it during the first plenary session of the year. To promptly address the matters of concern, the Maltese parliament will be holding a debate this week.
Image: Times of Malta