(Bloomberg) — Malta and Cyprus were issued with legal ultimatums as the European Commission stepped up its crackdown on governments selling citizenship rights to live and work in the European Union.
The two nations may have violated EU law by offering so-called golden passports, or access to their country’s nationality and EU citizenship, in return for a fee, the bloc’s executive authority said on Tuesday.
Their duo’s investor-citizenship programs may undermine “the integrity of the status of EU citizenship,” the commission said in a statement. Cyprus announced earlier this month it would end its current passport for investment program on Nov. 1.
“When a Member State awards nationality, the person concerned automatically becomes an EU citizen and enjoys all rights linked to this status” and “as a consequence, the effects of investor citizenship schemes are neither limited to the member states operating them,” the Commission said.