Today, the European Commission has decided to take further steps in the infringement procedures against Cyprus and Malta
While Cyprus and Malta remain responsible to decide who may become Cypriot and Maltese, the Court of Justice has made it clear on multiple occasions that rules on the acquisition of the nationality of a Member State must do so having “due regard to EU law”. The Commission launched these infringement procedures against Cyprus and Malta by sending letters of formal notice in October 2020. While Cyprus has repealed its scheme and stopped receiving new applications on 1 November 2020, it continues processing pending applications.
Hence, today the Commission decided to take the next step in the procedure against Cyprus by issuing a reasoned opinion. The Commission considers that the concerns set out in the letter of formal notice were not addressed by Cyprus.
Commissioner for Justice and Consumers, Didier Reynders, said: “By offering citizenship in exchange for pre-determined payments and investments, Cyprus fails to fulfil its obligations in the Treaties. Becoming the national of a Member State means becoming an EU citizen too. This link must not be forgotten. Cyprus does not accept new applications, but it is still processing pending ones. To this day, our concerns have not been addressed by Cypriot authorities and further action is therefore required.”
The Commission also decided to take further steps against Malta. While the previous investor citizenship scheme is no longer in force, Malta established a new scheme at the end of 2020. Commission has decided today to issue an additional letter of formal notice to expand the concerns set out in the letter of formal notice to a new scheme operated by Malta. Both Member States have now 2 months to take the necessary measures to address the Commission's concerns. In case of Cyprus, if the reply is not satisfactory, the Commission may bring the matter before the Court of Justice. In case of Malta, if the reply is not satisfactory, the Commission may take next step and issue a reasoned opinion in this matter.