Albania to Postpone CBI Plans Pending Outcome of EU Court Case Against Malta

Albania is putting its plans for a citizenship-by-investment program on ice, pending the outcome of the European Court of Justice’s ruling in the EU Commission’s case against Malta. Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama announced his decision to suspend CBI plans following a meeting with EU Commission Vice President Josep Borrell yesterday.

“Regarding the golden passports, we have made it clear that we have suspended the process until the position is clarified at the European level. We did not invent this, we took it from EU countries that have implemented it successfully,” Rama said during a post-meeting press conference yesterday.

Referring to the ECJ case – which has yet to be scheduled – Rama said his administration had agreed not to launch a CIP “without seeing how the case ends in the European Court.”

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If the ECJ ruled against Malta and CBI, explained Rama, then that would close the matter also for Albania. If the court rules in favor, however, Rama said, “each country will make its own choice.”

Plans for an Albanian CIP have been on the drawing board at least since November 2019, when PM Rama attended a Henley & Partners conference in London, during which he characterized CBI as “the right way and something we have to do.” Just days after that statement, then-EU Commissioner for Justice, Vera Jourova, warned Rama that an Albanian CIP could derail the country’s EU accession plans.

In July 2022, however, Albania appeared undeterred as it opened a public tender for the international promotion of its forthcoming CIP. In October last year, however, the European Commission told Albania explicitly that “as a candidate country, Albania should refrain from developing such a scheme.”