Opposition to Continue Citizenship Fight
The Opposition has not given up on scrapping the controversial citizenship scheme, Opposition leader Simon Busuttil told The Sunday Times of Malta, to which the government asked what the opposition was scared of.
The Government asked whether the opposition was scared of the potential investment of a billion euro in the economy and other spinoffs.
Dr Busuttil told the newspaper that if all the options at the opposition's disposal failed to get the scheme ditched, a future Nationalist government was still not ruling out withdrawing the applicants’ passports. “But I must stress, for the time being we’re not focusing on the withdrawal of the passport but on scrapping the scheme. We believe it can still be scrapped,” Dr Busuttil told The Sunday Times of Malta.
As opposed to the original €650,000 donation, the scheme now binds future Maltese citizens to purchase a property worth at least €350,000 or pay an annual rent of €16,000, coupled with an investment of €150,000 in government stocks or bonds. The PN believes the changes are superficial.
The government in its reaction said it had shown how it was prepared to stop and discuss. The changes proposed were by constituted bodies such as the Chamber of Commerce and the Chairman of the MFSA, backed by Finance Malta and other organisations.
The government feels that the opposition was choosing to be negative despite declaring that there was little dividing the two sides during the talks, the government said. Furthermore, the secrecy provisions had been removed and the scheme was limited to 1,800 applicants.