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MEP David Casa: The end for golden passports is long overdue.

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MEP David Casa addressing the hemicycle

MEP David Casa appealed to European leaders to halt the sale of European Union citizenship.

“It is high time that European countries closed this shameful chapter for good,” Casa said in the European Parliament’s plenary session in Strasbourg.

He quoted Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, who had said that “European values are not for sale.”

Casa explained that the sale of passports already hurt governments’ interests “in the fight against money laundering and corruption.” He added that this sale was a “tool” in the hands of those most ready to break the law.

Now that Putin invaded Ukraine, putting an end to the sale of passports was all the more urgent due to the risk of the EU’s “unprecedented sanctions” against Putin’s regime being undermined.

Casa lamented that “years of selling passports led to a chink in that armour.”

Once there are oligarchs close to Putin who have already acquired European citizenship, Casa explained that sanctions might be avoided. Casa requested that those who “already bought their way into Europe through the backdoor” be investigated thoroughly.

“Now that these have become a security issue, enough is enough.”

According to Casa, the risks associated with the sale of passports were ignored for many years, and that now the consequences are beginning to rear their head. Casa described the scheme as a “bad idea” that was “riddled with opaqueness unbecoming of a serious government.”

The European Parliament had already declared itself against the sale of citizenship in a 2014 resolution. Many Member States, including Malta, decided to retain their schemes.

The issue was reopened after pressure on EU governments to cease selling passports to Russian and Belarussian citizens after the invasion of Ukraine. European Parliament President Roberta Metsola made a similar appeal at the very start of the invasion.

Last week, David Casa issued a tweet asking Prime Minister Robert Abela to “stop serving Putin’s oligarchy” through the passport scheme. A week after Putin gave the order for Russian troops to invade Ukraine, and after much domestic and international pressure, the Maltese Government announced that the Maltese citizenship scheme would be suspended for applicants from Russian and Belarus.

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