The Commission has decided to take further action in infringement proceedings against Cyprus and Malta in connection with their investors' citizenship plans, also referred to as “golden passport” schemes.
The Commission considers that with the establishment and operation of investor citizenship schemes, which offer citizenship in exchange for predetermined payments and investments, these two Member States are not fulfilling their obligations under the principle of sincere cooperation citizenship of the Union as defined in the Treaties (Article 20 TFEU).
While Cyprus and Malta remain responsible for deciding who can become Cypriot and Maltese, the Court has made it clear in many cases that the rules for acquiring citizenship of a Member State must take due account of EU law.
The Commission initiated these infringement proceedings against Cyprus and Malta by sending warning letters in October 2020.
While Cyprus has scrapped its schedule and stopped receiving new applications on November 1st, 2020, it continues to process pending applications.
Therefore, today the Commission decided to take the next step in the process against Cyprus by issuing a reasoned opinion.
The Commission considers that the concerns expressed in the letter of formal notice were not addressed by Cyprus.
Both Member States now have 2 months to take the necessary steps to address the Commission's concerns. In the case of Cyprus, if the answer is unsatisfactory, the Commission may appeal to the Court.