Does Discretion in Citizenship by Investment Programs Affect the Quality of Legislation?

Citizenship by investment programs (CIPs) – granting citizenship on grounds of economic transactions – have been catching the attention of scholars during the last decade. Most agree that CIPs represent a form of selling citizenship. The introduction of the Maltese program, which grants not only national but also European citizenship, represented a turning point. Although the Maltese program has been the most controversial, it is neither the first nor the only one in Europe. The rise of CIPs around the world has aroused serious concerns among scholars: CIPs are said to corrupt democracy, increase inequality and undermine the concept of citizenship. Yet, no attempts have been made to investigate if the discretion in such programs affects the quality of legislation. This paper presents the current CIPs in the EU; charters discretion in the legislation establishing the programs; and explores how it affects the quality of the legislation.