My first impression on the revamped citizenship scheme is that Malta will still commodify citizenship in a discriminatory manner, through 'bonus' revenue which is required to make up for populist and unsustainable income tax cuts.
Yet, once again, this can open a pandora's box of unintended consequences. First: Malta might be giving the impression that its economy is hovering towards fiscal crisis. Second: Malta might raise eyebrows for exploiting a loophole in EU legislation with possible political repercussions. Third: Malta is merely postponing vital decisions regarding sustainable sources of revenue required to finance public services.
As regards the latter, the capping of a maximum of 1,800 persons to benefit from the scheme shows that public discontent has had an effect, but also raises questions. I will not resort to conspiracy theories, but I merely ask whether this decision will result in an economic 'curse' through which Malta avoids taking important fiscal decisions required for a sustainable welfare state - as is the case with countries characterised by the 'curse' of exploiting finite resources such as oil and postponing major fiscal decisions.
In the final instance all this is very much related to the populist electoral decision to reduce income tax. Universal public services require a sustainable flow of revenue.
The Times of Malta
The Malta Independent