Albania's prime minister Edi Rama has said that its planned golden visa scheme is to be temporarily suspended despite previous intentions to activate the citizenship passport soon.

Rama made the comments after a meeting on 16 March of the European Union (EU)-Albania Stabilization and Association Council, during which he confirmed that the Citizenship by Investment Program (CIP) would not be introduced shortly, according to a report by VisaGuide.World.

Vice President of the European Commission, Josep Borrell, and the European Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement, Oliver Varhelyt were both at the joint press conference.

Rama said: "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."

He further highlighted the case in the European Court challenging Malta's Golden Passport scheme, the outcome of which would determine what Albania would, or would not do. 

The EU has made numerous calls on all European countries that offer golden visa schemes to terminate them as soon as possible, after they go against EU law, permitting even persons involved in illicit acts to benefit from these schemes.

Albania was also urged several times by the EC not to introduce this program. In addition, in its fifth report under the visa suspension mechanism the Commission called on authorities in Albania to terminate the scheme.

Last month, Portugal announced plans to end its golden visa, just days after Ireland abruptly existed from its investment scheme.