European Commissioner for Justice Vĕra Jourová will issue a stern rebuke of Maltas track record on corruption, money laundering and security, as well as the islands controversial passports-for-money scheme in a speech Thursday.
“Money laundering, citizenship for sale, security, corruption all pose a threat to security, the rule of law and democracy as such,” she is expected to say, according to speaking points seen by POLITICOs Brussels Playbook. “My role, as a European justice commissioner, is to sometimes ask difficult and honest questions, especially on the issues that affect all of us.”
There are “serious gaps” in Maltas anti-money laundering rules, which undermine the fight against crime across the Continent, the commissioner is expected to say.
“The fight against money laundering is not just about protecting our financial systems; and the gaps in one member state have impact on all others. The money laundered in one country can and often does support crime in another.”
Jourová will also criticize the islands controversial Individual Investor Programme — which has seen authorities issue passports to over 700 individuals in exchange for investments and cash donations to the government since 2014.
“Becoming a Maltese citizen also means becoming an EU citizen — with all its rights, including free movement,” Jourová is expected to say. “The Commissions concern is to guarantee that EU citizenship is delivered to people who actually have links to the country in which they apply for citizenship.”
Her speech is also expected to touch on the EUs recurring concerns over security and the rule of law in Malta and address the murder of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, who was killed in a car bombing last year.
“I think the murder of a journalist was a wake-up call for many of us and a clear realization that many things are related to one another,” she will say.