EU citizenship up for grabs at $800,000


Becoming a European Union citizen just got a lot easier, if you have $880,000 i.e. In a move to quickly raise some funds, Malta plans to sell 1,800 passports for around €650,000 ($880,000) a pop to prospective citizens. Each applicant can then buy additional passports for children up to 26 years old, for their spouse, and his or her spouse’s parents and grandparents, for between €25,000 ($33,900) and €50,000 ($67,900) per head. The scheme will provide money for a €1 billion ($1.35 billion) investment fund in the Mediterranean country, whose national budget is just €3 billion ($4 billion) a year.

Malta has hired British consultancy firm, Henley & Partners to design the legal and administrative structures behind the project. In return, it will get a four per cent cut of the passport fees.

The new EU passport holders will then be able to travel and work in all 28 EU states, a point that is creating some uproar amongst member countries. While several EU states have similar schemes, it usually requires the new citizens to live there for a few years before they get citizenship. But the new Maltese citizens will hardly have to set foot in the country. The rules require them to visit Malta to swear an “oath of allegiance,” to buy or rent Maltese real estate and buy Maltese financial instruments, such as stocks or bonds, which might require them to visit two or three times more to sign related documents.

The European Parliament will hold a debate on the plan during the first plenary session of the year. The Maltese parliament is holding a debate this week.

[Via - EU-Observer]