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EU Commission to issue a report on citizenship by investment later this year

Updated: Aug 29, 2018

Author: Dr. Olivier Vonk

After controversy in 2013 over Malta’s citizenship investment programme (CIP), which was approved by the European Commission after it was rest assured that investors eligible under the programme acquired a genuine link to Malta through the introduction of an effective residence status, EU Commissioner Vera Jourova has recently expressed renewed concerns about the potential abuse of CIP programmes and announced that the EU Commission will address this in a report to be issued later this year. While the EU ‘has no legal competences in the area of acquisition or loss of national (and thus EU) citizenship’ and thus lacks formal power to intervene with the national citizenship of the member states, the Centre for European and Policy Studies argued in an analysis of the 2013 controversy that ‘the affair […] revealed the increasing relevance of a set of European and international legal principles limiting member states’ discretion over citizenship matters and providing a supranational constellation of accountability venues scrutinizing the impact of their decisions over citizenship of the Union’, while also placing the EU principle of sincere cooperation at the forefront in nationality matters.

It will be of interest to see how far the Commission thinks that EU citizenship can constrain member state sovereignty in matters of nationality law in 2018 – particularly given the lack of formal competence in this field as well as any new case law by the Court of Justice of the European Union since the 2010 Rottmann decision that may have changed the current relation between member state nationality and EU citizenship.

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