Text adopted by Parliament, single reading  
2013/2995(RSP) - 16/01/2014  

The European Parliament adopted by 560 votes to 22 with 44 abstentions a resolution on EU citizenship for sale.

The resolution was tabled by the EPP, S&D, ALDE, and Greens/EFA groups.

It noted that a number of Member States had introduced schemes which directly or indirectly result in the sale of EU citizenship to third-country nationals. The Maltese Government, in particular, had recently taken steps to introduce a scheme for the outright sale of Maltese citizenship, which automatically entailed the outright sale of EU citizenship as a whole without any residency requirement. Parliament was concerned that this way of obtaining citizenship in Malta, as well as any other national scheme that may involve the direct or indirect outright sale of EU citizenship, undermined the very concept of European citizenship. Every Member State was expected to act responsibly in preserving the Union’s common values and achievements, and those values and achievements were invaluable and could not have a price tag attached to them. Such outright sale of EU citizenship undermined the mutual trust upon which the Union was built.

Members called on the Commission, as the guardian of the Treaties, to state clearly whether these schemes respect the letter and spirit of the Treaties and the Schengen Borders Code, as well as the EU rules on non-discrimination, and to issue recommendations in order to prevent such schemes from undermining the values that the EU has been built upon, as well as guidelines for access to EU citizenship via national schemes.

Parliament noted that EU citizenship implied the holding of a stake in the Union and depended on a person’s ties with Europe and the Member States or on personal ties with EU citizens. It stressed that EU citizenship should never become a tradable commodity. Furthermore, it noted that concerns existed as regards possible discrimination because these practices by Member States only allowed the richest third-country nationals to obtain EU citizenship, without any other criteria being considered. Access to funds should not be the main criterion in conferring EU citizenship on third-country nationals and account should be taken of fraud-related criminal concerns such as money laundering.

Lastly, Members considered that it was not clear whether Maltese citizens would really benefit from this new policy, for example through the collection of taxes, as the foreign investors concerned would not be required to pay taxes. They called on Malta to bring its current citizenship scheme into line with the EU’s values.