Malta PM delays sale of citizenship until both government and opposition agree on terms

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The prime minister of Malta — one of the EU's smallest countries — has delayed implementing a law to sell citizenship until the government and opposition can agree on terms.

The measure is controversial because it effectively allows people to buy themselves into the rich EU.

If no agreement is reached, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat hinted to Parliament Tuesday evening that he would seek a referendum.

President George Abela signed the new law on Friday, but it doesn't take effect until it is formally published.

The opposition Nationalist Party has opposed the law selling citizenship for 650,000 euros ($865,000), and had pledged to repeal it if re-elected.

In a concession, the government agreed to publish the names of people buying Maltese — and by extension EU — citizenship.