Malta

   

Social Policies

#28
Key Findings
With a number of reform needs evident despite improvements, Malta falls into the lower-middle ranks (rank 28) with respect to social policies. Its score for this measure has improved by 0.4 points relative to 2014.

School drop-out rates are worrisomely high. Tertiary-level attainment levels are comparatively low, but education access generally is quite equitable, and PISA scores are rising. A number of education reforms are underway.

Poverty and social exclusion risks are declining, but remain significant for children, the elderly and the low skilled. Teenage-pregnancy rates are declining. Employment rates are low among women, although workplace policies including free child care and financial incentives for mothers returning to work have led to strong recent gains.

Pension spending is worryingly high as a share of GDP. A new program promotes increased voluntary saving. While the high-quality free basic health care system has some gaps, wait times for operations can be long. Integration policies remain weak, and the law-enforcement system shows serious flaws, particularly in the areas of human trafficking and organized crime.

Education

#34

To what extent does education policy deliver high-quality, equitable and efficient education and training?

10
 9

Education policy fully achieves the criteria.
 8
 7
 6


Education policy largely achieves the criteria.
 5
 4
 3


Education policy partially achieves the criteria.
 2
 1

Education policy does not achieve the criteria at all.
Education Policy
5
In Malta, because of a lack of natural resources, economic growth is intrinsically linked to human resources. Attracting investment and sustaining employment depend very much on the skill and education levels of the workforce. In this, the results are mixed.

Since 2013, the government has implemented a number of programs, some with fiscal support, to encourage more students to pursue further education. These include free support for students at risk of failing and/or who have failed admission to higher-education institutions and the extension of services and facilities at the Malta College of Arts, Science, and Technology (MCAST) to better address learning challenges at different educational levels. Extra summer classes for those wishing to retake regular-level exams and a new alternative-learning program were introduced. In 2017, the Malta Visual and Performing Arts School was opened to cater to secondary level students with special talents in the arts. A pilot project to provide tablet computers for school children was concluded in October 2016. New schools are being built and others modernized. A staggered removal of exam fees was announced in the 2018 budget.

Nonetheless, the 2016 Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) ranked Malta 20th for mathematics and 22nd for science from a total of 39 participating countries, while the 2016 Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS) ranked Malta 40th out of 50 participating countries. Furthermore, 27.8% of the Maltese population had attained a tertiary level of education compared to an EU-28 average of 38.7%. In 2016, Malta also had the highest school drop-out rate in the EU (at 19.6%), the position remained the same in 2017, though locally there was a marginal improvement of 0.1%. The PISA 2015 survey found that Maltese students improved their ranking in mathematics, reading, and science and noted improved performance by immigrant children and a narrowing of the academic achievement gender gap.

Malta provides a high level of equitable access to education at all levels. A total of 80% of all schools are free, while various measures exist to support students. Access to higher education remains open for all due to the absence of tuition fees and stipends for students. The provision of free preschool state facilities for children three years and over has been greatly expanded. Changes to the education system outlined in the last quarter of 2017 attempt to address remaining concerns. These include the setting up of the consultative National Board for Compulsory Education, enhanced services for children who require additional support, increased investment in applied learning and scholarships for post-graduate studies. A proposed new Malta University Act (still in the consultation phase) aims at making the university more solvent and its structures more efficient and transparent, though contemplated changes to its governing bodies are deemed to threaten the autonomy of the institution. A number of administrative challenges have also slowed down reforms. These include problems within the newly established Institute for Education, difficulties with teacher recruitment, high student-teacher ratios and delays in the building of new schools. Further reforms are also needed in the education sector as it has long failed to meet the needs of the economy in various sectors.

Citations:
http://www.mcast.edu.mt/92
Times of Malta 13/07/2016 SEC results similar to previous years,’ Education Ministry says
Youth Guarantee Malta Implementation Plan p.22
The Malta Independent 15/10/2015 One tablet per child pilot project concluded; roll-out to start in October 2016
Times of Malta 10/03/2015 Educators will be able to apply for sabbaticals
Malta Today 02/06/2016 €15 million invested in construction of new schools
Budget Speech 2018 (English) p.71-76
TIMSS 2015 Malta Report (2016) p. vii
PIRLS 2016
European Semester Thematic Factsheets – Tertiary Education Attainment (Updated 2016) p.7
http://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/web/products-eurostat-news/-/EDN-20170908-1
Claudia Vallejo and Melinda Dooly, (2008) Educational Policies that address Social Inequalities: Country Report Malta p. 16
PISA 2015 Survey
Press Reader 2/11/17 MIM calls for substantial reform in education and accreditation system
Consultation Paper, Increased Access, Better Quality: A Vision for Tomorrow’s University in the Modern World, The University of Malta Act http://meae.gov.mt/en/Public_Consultations/MEDE/Documents/UOM%20Consultation%20Document.pdf

Social Inclusion

#16

To what extent does social policy prevent exclusion and decoupling from society?

10
 9

Policies very effectively enable societal inclusion and ensure equal opportunities.
 8
 7
 6


For the most part, policies enable societal inclusion effectively and ensure equal opportunities.
 5
 4
 3


For the most part, policies fail to prevent societal exclusion effectively and ensure equal opportunities.
 2
 1

Policies exacerbate unequal opportunities and exclusion from society.
Social Inclusion Policy
7
Malta has a consolidated social benefits system that supports those with low incomes; in addition, health care and education are available free of charge. However, the high risk of poverty among the unemployed and the elderly suggest that welfare benefits and pensions have not been consistently adequate. This was partially addressed in the 2015 and 2016 budgets when lower pension bands were raised and incentives to help people return to work introduced. Social security expenditure amounted to €479.8 million during the first half of 2017, 13.4% higher than the expenditure for the same period in 2016. In 2016, the at-risk-of poverty or social exclusion rate was 20.1%, which represented a 2.3% decrease over the preceding year. The 2017 Commission Staff Working Document highlighted that poverty and social exclusion risks are declining but remain significant for children, the elderly, and the low-skilled. Eurostat reports that in 2017 24% of persons 17 years of age and younger were at risk of poverty, down from 26.7% in 2010. Moreover, Eurostat data for 2016 indicate that 42.4% of Maltese children whose parents had a low level of educational attainment were at risk of poverty. However, Eurostat data also shows that for children exposed to the triple burden of risk of poverty, severe material deprivation and a household with low work intensity, there are encouraging signs. This is coupled with the fact that data are indicating a continuous decrease in the yearly numbers of Maltese teenage mothers. Young people aged 15 to 25 neither in employment nor education stood at 10.4% below the EU mean.

Disabled persons remain relatively marginalized, but unemployment levels are decreasing yearly. A number of significant measures introduced in the 2015 and 2016 budgets contribute to this trend. These measures included an obligatory contribution from employers who do not employ disabled individuals as well as tax credits and incentives for employers who do employ disabled individuals. Disabled individuals who are in employment are also entitled to receive full benefits irrespective of their salary.

Several measures have been introduced over the last few years to address social problems. These include supplementary benefits for children, breakfast at school, greater support for low-income working parents through the creation of after-school clubs for their children, fiscal incentives for people to invest in pensions programs and an annual bonus for senior citizens over the age of 75. A food laboratory for early school leavers and teenage parents is also in the pipeline. These social measures have been consolidated further in the 2017 budget with the launch of a €50 million social housing project and the establishment of a fund for disadvantaged students. Moreover, government signed an agreement in 2017 that foresees an increase of the minimum wage by €8 per week by 2019. A new survey also indicates that only 1.3% of the population live in substandard accommodation (the EU average is 5.1%). The same survey found that over half of poor households in Malta own their own property without a mortgage compared to 38.7% across the EU as a whole. Also, only 4.3% are private tenants compared to 29.3% EU-wide. The income quintile share ratio which measures inequality of income distribution at 4.2% is less than the EU average.

Citations:
National Statistics Office (NSO) News Release 069/2017
National Statistics Office (NSO) News Release 151/2017
Commission Staff Working Document Country Report Malta 2017 SWD (2017) 83 final p.2
http://appsso.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/nui/show.do?dataset=ilc_li60&lang=en
The Malta Independent 13/08/2017 Number of Maltese teenage mothers remains in decline, EU reports show
National Statistics Office (NSO) News Release 152/2017
Budget 2016 Speech (English) p. 31
Budget 2015 Speech (English) p. 49
Malta Independent 13/10/2015 Budget 2016: What’s in it for you – point by point, how the budget will affect you.
Budget 2017 Speech (Maltese) p. 134, p. 138
Caritas Malta 2016 A Minimum essential budget for a decent living.
Times of Malta 24/11/2016 Child poverty is expensive
Times of Malta 27/04/2017 Minimum wage to go up €8 per week by 2019
EU Commission 2017 Social Scoreboard
Times of Malta 23/11/17 Quarter of children are at risk of poverty
Times of Malta 23/11/17 Maltese in Squalid housing is one-quarter of EU average

Health

#22

To what extent do health care policies provide high-quality, inclusive and cost-efficient health care?

10
 9

Health care policy achieves the criteria fully.
 8
 7
 6


Health care policy achieves the criteria largely.
 5
 4
 3


Health care policy achieves the criteria partly.
 2
 1

Health care policy does not achieve the criteria at all.
Health Policy
7
Malta provides quality health care to all citizens, with extensive inpatient and outpatient hospital services offered for free. This is reinforced by agreements with the United Kingdom and Italy to service patients in need of special treatments unavailable locally. The Euro Health Consumer Index 2016 found, however, that despite Malta’s decent access to health care, performance lagged when it comes to treatment results and that there are gaps in the public subsidy system. In 2017, measures were put in place to expand current subsidies. The government now supports oncology patients, providing otherwise expensive treatments for free.

Vulnerable groups are entitled to state support for a list of prescription medications and all citizens are entitled to free medicine for specified chronic diseases (e.g., high blood pressure and diabetes). Malta has one of the lowest percentages in the EU of self-reported unmet need for medical care at 0.8% of the total population. Much has been done to reduce patient waiting times and dependence on private hospital care. The most recent NAO report stated that there was a 22% decrease in patient waiting time for elective operations. Notwithstanding, the average patient waits eight months for their first outpatient appointment, double that of the United Kingdom. However, between 20% and 50% of these first appointments could have been treated by regional units, indicating that primary care is not acting as an effective gatekeeper to secondary care. The report also indicates that the main hospital had improved outpatient services. The government has addressed the general hospital’s limited bed capacity by building new wards and devising plans to add new buildings to the existing infrastructure. It also opened a new oncology hospital on the same site. A new outpatient block should be completed by 2020. Joint projects with the private sector to upgrade Karen Grech Hospital, Saint Luke’s Hospital and the Gozo General Hospital in 2018 have stalled; the public has called for a reassessment of the project, which is now being scrutinized by parliament. There have been repeated demands for reform of the mental health sector and for a new mental health hospital. Meanwhile, it was recently announced that Malta will be one of the first countries to meet its Hepatitis C elimination target and a campaign for the legalization of medical cannabis is ongoing.

The private sector accounts for approximately two-thirds of the workload in primary health care; however, health care delivery in Malta is dominated by the public sector, with 96% of hospital beds publicly owned and managed, with only a small number of private hospitals. Malta has fewer hospital beds per 100,000 inhabitants than its European counterparts, but also shorter hospital stays than the EU average. Health care as a percentage of GDP has increased from 8.1% in 2003 to 9.8% in 2014 (the 2014 EU average was 10%). Health-related expenditure amounted to more than €407 million between January and September 2017. The European Commission has expressed concerns about Malta’s ability to meet growing long-term care demands.

Citations:
Times of Malta 05/09/2012 Three health agreements signed with Italy
Euro Health Consumer Index 2016 p. 16
Times of Malta 20/10/2016 Maltese fattest in Europe… by a wide margin
A Healthy Weight for Life: A National Strategy for Malta 2012-2020
Commission Staff Working Document - Country Report Malta 2016 SWD (2016) 86 final p.20
Times of Malta 18/10/2015 Two new wards to open
TVM 27/01/2015 Government to announce development of new buildings at Mater Dei
Malta Independent 20/09/2015 Sir Anthony Mamo oncology center officially inaugurated
Budget Speech 2018 (English) p.80-81
Times of Malta 01/11/2017 Malta will be one of first countries to eliminate Hepatitis C
The Malta Independent 14/10/2017 Cannabis should be made available for those over 21; ReLeaf launches pro-legalization manifesto
Health care Delivery in Malta 2012 p. 13
A National Health Systems Strategy for Malta 2014-2020 p.22
Commission Staff Working Document - Country Report Malta 2017 SWD (2017) 83 final p.16
National Statistics Office (NSO) News Release 174/2017
Malta Independent 29/09/2016 Maltese people aged 80 have life expectancy of more than 9 years - Eurostat
National Audit Office Performance Audit: Outpatient Waiting at Mater Dei Hospital 2017
Doctors may strike over hospital deal Times of Malta 28/01/18

Families

#17

To what extent do family support policies enable women to combine parenting with participation in the labor market?

10
 9

Family support policies effectively enable women to combine parenting with employment.
 8
 7
 6


Family support policies provide some support for women who want to combine parenting and employment.
 5
 4
 3


Family support policies provide only few opportunities for women who want to combine parenting and employment.
 2
 1

Family support policies force most women to opt for either parenting or employment.
Family Policy
7
With a difference of approximately 25% between female and male employment rates, Malta has the widest gender employment gap in the EU (78.9% for males vis-à-vis 54.4% for females). Nonetheless, one should note that female participation in the informal economy (which accounts for almost 25% of GDP) may make this figure somewhat inaccurate. Figures released by the European Commission show that women in Malta earn about half of what men earn, constituting the second highest pay gap in the EU.

A breakdown of activity rates by age showed that the number of women active in the labor market was comparable to that of men during the ages of 15-24, but the gap widens in subsequent age brackets. In recent years, new workplace policies were designed to ensure that employed parents retain or are able to return to their jobs. This has included parental leave (both maternity and paternity leave), reduced working hours, career breaks, the introduction of financial incentives for mothers returning to work, free child-care centers, school breakfasts, and after-school clubs. These measures are enabling more women to enter and remain in the labor market, with Malta experiencing the highest female activity rate increase in the EU since 2008. Data published by the National Statistics Office in 2017 indicate that a total of 13,306 children aged five or younger are enrolled in some form of non-compulsory early childhood education. The figures for children under three remain at a low 18% compared to a high of 77% in Denmark. Since 2015, the Maternity Leave Trust Fund legally obliges employers to contribute the equivalent of 0.3% of each employee’s salary, irrespective of the employee’s gender. Notwithstanding, the share of family/child benefits as a share of total social benefits remains low at just over 6%. Discussions are currently ongoing as to whether parents should be able to utilize their sick leave for instances when their children are unwell.

Citations:
Eurostat News Release 80/2016
European Semester Thematic Factsheet – Undeclared Work (Updated 2016) p. 3
National Statistics Office (NSO) News Release 155/2017
https://education.gov.mt/en/resources/News/Pages/News%20items/2,700-Children-a ttending-free-childcare-as-government-facilitates-access-to-work-for-women.aspx
Malta Today 02/09/2014 Primary schools to offer Breakfast Club during coming school year
National Statistics Office (NSO) News Release 147/2017
Times of Malta 21/07/2015 New Maternity Leave Trust Fund launched in bid to end gender discrimination
Commission Staff Working Document - Country Report Malta 2016 SWD (2016) 86 final p. 5, p. 22
http://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/statistics-explained/index.php/Gender_statistics
Television Malta 18/11/2016 PM: Parents with sick children should have right to sick leave
Times of Malta 4/11/17 Women in Malta earn almost half of what men get
Eurostat 12/05/17, Share of family/children benefits in the EU member states

Pensions

#27

To what extent does pension policy realize goals of poverty prevention, intergenerational equity and fiscal sustainability?

10
 9

Pension policy achieves the objectives fully.
 8
 7
 6


Pension policy achieves the objectives largely.
 5
 4
 3


Pension policy achieves the objectives partly.
 2
 1

Pension policy does not achieve the objectives at all.
Pension Policy
6
Government expenditure on contributory benefits amounted to €479.8 million during the first six months of 2017 with an increase of €46.7 million in retirement pensions alone. Indeed, pensions represent a substantial public expenditure with projections indicating that pension-related expenditure will amount to 12.8% of GDP by 2060; this has been a major concern at the EU level. The European Commission’s 2014 and 2015 Country Specific Recommendations for Malta both noted the need to consolidate the pension system. This concern was restated in the 2017 European Commission Country Specific Recommendations for Malta. Nonetheless, older people are more likely to be at risk of poverty than the rest of the Maltese population (21% versus 15.3%).

The Maltese pension system is based on a pay-as-you-earn system, as well as a means-tested non-contributory system. Until recently, pensions were not linked to inflation and considerable erosion in real value occurred and, although partially rectified, the real value of pensions cannot make up for decades of loss. Low tax ceilings also meant that pensioners were required to pay income tax on their pensions. Measures taken in the 2013 and 2017 budgets, which raised the tax ceilings for pensioners and revised supplementary assistance for those aged 65 and older, has gone some way to help to redress this situation.

Subsequent measures sought to consolidate shortcomings in this area. For instance, in 2014, parliament voted to introduce a third pillar to the pension system. However, it will be some time before this reform will reduce the stress of pension costs on public finances. Second pillar pensions have not yet been introduced though a government task force to study this issue is likely to occur. The labor unions have been calling for greater government support for work-based pensions.

The Pensions Strategy Group 2015 report provided a detailed overview of possible scenarios up to 2060 and identified several guiding principles for developing a flexible and sustainable pension system. The report was, however, criticized for not addressing the issue of how to get people to voluntarily save and being weak on defining what constitutes a strong scheme system and what benchmarks should be used. Within this context, a recently launched government scheme is aiming to encourage increased voluntary saving through a system of occupational pensions.

The government’s commitment toward adequate and sustainable pensions have also been illustrated in the 2016 budget with increments for pensioners who receive less than €140 per week and no tax increases for pensioners. However, the new minimum of €560 a month will need to be increased further to provide the pensioner with a living income. Significantly, the 2017 budget introduced a two-year plan for the removal of all income tax on all pensions (public, private or foreign) up to a maximum of €13,000. It is envisaged that approximately 22,000 pensioners will benefit from this measure. The care-persons’ benefit has also been increased to €140 per week in the 2017 budget and financial assistance of €5,200 per year is allocated for care workers for those choosing not to enter a retirement home. The government also plans to reform pensions for those with disabilities and a new social security benefit scheme for vulnerable workers has been introduced.

NGOs have also flagged the issue of lack of pensions for migrants working in undeclared jobs, which will impact these individuals and the economy in years to come.

Citations:
National Statistics Office (NSO) News Release 123/2017
Malta Independent 21/08/2015 Watch: Deficit in 2015 to be 1.6% of GDP, budget 2016 to look at lower income strata
Recommendation for a COUNCIL RECOMMENDATION on Malta’s 2014 national reform program and delivering a Council opinion on Malta’s 2014 stability program COM (2014) 419 final p. 6
Recommendation for a COUNCIL RECOMMENDATION on the 2015 National Reform Program of Malta and delivering a Council opinion on the 2015 Stability Program of Malta COM (2015) 267 final p. 5
Recommendation for a COUNCIL RECOMMENDATION on the 2017 National Reform Program of Malta and delivering a Council opinion on the 2017 Stability Program of Malta COM(2017) 517 final p.4
Commission Staff Working Document Country Report Malta SWD(2017) 83 final p. 15
Malta Today 29/11/2012 Budget 2013 at a glance
Times of Malta 04/12/2014 Third pillar pensions: a first step?
Strengthening the Pension System – A Strategy for an Adequate and Sustainable Maltese Pension System p. 4
The Malta Independent 07/09/2017 Government launches scheme to incentivize voluntary occupational pension
The Malta Independent 15/10/2015 Toward a sustainable pension system
The Malta Independent 13/10/2015 Budget 2016: What’s in it for you – point by point, how the budget will affect you
The Malta Independent 18/10/16 Budget 2017: Pensions and Pensioners Given a boost
Budget 2017 Speech (Maltese) p. 36
Times of Malta 22/06/16 Government will not introduce second pillar pensions by stealth
Times of Malta 11/03/16 NGOs warn of problem over lack of pensions for migrants
Times of Malta 15/11/17 Social Security Benefits for Vulnerable workers unveiled

Integration

#38

How effectively do policies support the integration of migrants into society?

10
 9

Cultural, education and social policies effectively support the integration of migrants into society.
 8
 7
 6


Cultural, education and social policies seek to integrate migrants into society, but have failed to do so effectively.
 5
 4
 3


Cultural, education and social policies do not focus on integrating migrants into society.
 2
 1

Cultural, education and social policies segregate migrant communities from the majority society.
Integration Policy
4
It is only recently that Malta has begun to consolidate its policy approach to integration. Indeed, in 2017 the EU singled out four states – one of them Malta – for having no integration action plan for non-Europeans. Under the current government, the Ministry for European Affairs and Equality is responsible for the integration of migrants. Meanwhile, the Agency for the Welfare of Asylum-Seekers is responsible for the provision of some services, including employment, housing, education, health care, and welfare information. The agency is also a facilitator between public services and serves as a pre-integration functionary. The office of Refugee Commissioner also spearheads important initiatives, such as the new Initial Reception Centers, creation of a work registration system under Jobsplus and detention policy reform. A new integration unit will offer courses to migrants in Maltese and English as well as social culture. The unit will also accept and facilitate integration requests. The courses will make participants eligible for a “pre-integration” certificate that will facilitate their request for long-term residency. Government has pledged to publish a national strategy on integration within a year.

In his recent address to the UN General Assembly, the prime minister stressed the importance of a broader global response toward human trafficking networks in the Mediterranean.

The number of migrants granted subsidiary or humanitarian protections is very high and UNHCR figures indicate a rejection rate of 13.5% for the period ending August 2017. In 2016, the government introduced a new migration strategy which terminated the practice of automatic detention. Moreover, refugees and asylum-seekers granted protection are eligible for unemployment benefits. These reforms aim to lessen the hardship on migrants seeking work and their own accommodation. Furthermore, the Malta Declaration was signed by all EU state leaders in February 2017 as the first step toward concrete solutions to combat illegal migrant routes in the Mediterranean.

Nonetheless, integration policies remain weak. Under the Migrants Integration Policy Index (MIPEX) 2015 Malta ranked 33 out of 38 countries and classified its policies as “Slightly unfavorable” for the purposes of integration, stating that non-EU residents are less likely to reunite with family, become long-term residents with equal rights, and become citizens in Malta than in almost any other MIPEX country. Delaying family reunion delays the integration of these families and their sponsor. Evidence of poverty and homelessness among migrants indicates the need for government to allocate more resources to this group, as the percentage of the foreign population in Malta at risk of poverty and social exclusion increased between 2005 and 2013. The issue of citizenship also needs to be urgently reassessed for the children of asylum-seekers born in Malta, these children currently have no right to citizenship. Malta has signed but not ratified the European Convention on Nationality to address the acquisition of citizenship through naturalization.

A recent protest in a Maltese locality with a large migrant presence sheds light on the difficulties of community integration as ethnic and racial discrimination remains rife.

Citations:
https://meae.gov.mt/en/Pages/The_Ministry/Brief.aspx
https://homeaffairs.gov.mt/en/MHAS-Departments/awas/Pages/AWAS.aspx
Times of Malta 30/10/2016 ‘We are dealing with humans not categories’ - New Refugee Commissioner interviewed
The Malta Independent 22/09/2017 ‘Malta can be beacon of political courage for others,’ Muscat tells United Nations
http://www.unhcr.org.mt/charts/
Times of Malta 03/01/2016 New migration strategy is a step in right direction – NGOs
Times of Malta 16/03/2017 National integration strategy should be published this year
http://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/press/press-releases/2017/02/03/malta-declaration/
http://www.mipex.eu/malta
Times of Malta 10/12/16 Man’s death under bridge highlights poverty and homelessness among migrants
Television Malta 17/09/2017 UPDATED: Protest in Marsa against criminality by immigrants
The Malta Independent 15/08/2017 Malta listed as one of 20 EU countries where risk of modern slavery is rising
Times of Malta 01/10/17 Government Plans Culture, Language lessons for Migrants
The People for change foundation (2017) Ethnic Minorities Beyond Migration: The Case of Malta.
The People for Change Foundation, Briefing Note: How to Score Better on MIPEX
The People for change Foundations Migration in Malta 2016 Report
Aditus, NGO Submissions to the Public Consultation on National Migration Integration Strategy 2015 -2020

Safe Living

#22

How effectively does internal security policy protect citizens against security risks?

10
 9

Internal security policy protects citizens against security risks very effectively.
 8
 7
 6


Internal security policy protects citizens against security risks more or less effectively.
 5
 4
 3


Internal security policy does not effectively protect citizens against security risks.
 2
 1

Internal security policy exacerbates the security risks.
Safe Living Conditions
6
Malta is generally considered a safe place to live. Crime rates have remained largely stable with crime increasing by only 0.9% in 2016, though from time to time in-fighting escalates between criminal organizations involved in drug-trafficking and money laundering. Malta has one of the lowest murder rates. Notwithstanding, the recent car bombing of a well-known Maltese journalist garnered intense international attention.

External security threats to the state have been largely absent, making it difficult to assess local readiness or an ability to protect citizens if such threats were to materialize. The U.S. Department of State highlights the fact that like all other European countries, Malta is vulnerable to transnational terrorist groups. This is particularly significant when one considers Malta’s geographic location and open borders with other Schengen members. Nonetheless, mid-2017 data compiled by Numbeo ranked Malta 29th worldwide on its Safety Index.

Malta is affiliated with Interpol and is also party to several cross-border security cooperation efforts, particularly those coordinated by the European Union. Malta is also participating in Operation Triton to secure borders and rescue migrants in the central Mediterranean area. As Malta ensures the security of an external frontier of the European Union, it has received substantial assistance through the External Borders Fund. Through this fund, the Armed Forces of Malta (AFM) continue to obtain important resources for the enhancement of the existing border control system, which is primarily directed toward policing the island country’s maritime borders from irregular migration and drug smuggling. Moreover, an additional €93 million in EU funding has been earmarked for Malta for the programming period from 2014 to 2020 through the Internal Security Fund and the Asylum, Migration, and Integration Fund. Of these funds, 80% were committed to projects as of December 2016.

Malta’s Secret Service is small and depends heavily on intelligence from foreign intelligence services. However, its Secret Service has improved its capability, as evidenced by the Secret Service’s support in liberating Maltese hostages in Libya. It has been strengthened due to Malta’s recent role in the EU presidency, particularly during high profile events attended by EU heads of state. Nonetheless, the current crisis in the Mediterranean remains a major challenge.

The drafting of a long-term strategy to reform the police force was ongoing in 2016. An internal audit and investigation unit recommended by the audit office has yet to be established. As Malta’s economic and social structures have undergone rapid change, institutional capacity to deal with organized crime has not kept pace. A 2017 assessment by the United States found that Malta has not met the minimum requirements to combat human trafficking, though the government has increased resources to identify and assist victims. With regard to homicides, recent data show that Malta has a clearance (i.e., closure) rate of 70%, well below the European average of 85%. None of the car bomb assassinations in recent years, including the three in 2016, have been solved. Confidence in the force is generally low and four commissioners have resigned in the last five years. Pressure has also been mounting for the resignation of the current Police Commissioner. These demands overshadow recent successes scored by the police against smuggling, drug trafficking and robbery.

Citations:
The Malta Independent 16/10/2017 Updated: Daphne Caruana Galizia killed as vehicle blows up in Bidnija; bomb not in cabin - expert
https://travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/country/malta.html
https://www.numbeo.com/crime/rankings_by_country.jsp
https://pulizija.gov.mt/en/police-force/police-sections/Pages/Interpol.aspx
http://frontex.europa.eu/pressroom/hot-topics/joint-operation-triton-italy–ekKaes
On Parade Magazine October 2014, Armed Forces of Malta p.17
https://eufunds.gov.mt/en/EU%20Funds%20Programmes/Migration%20Funds/Pages/Migration-and-Security-Funds-2014-2020.aspx
The Malta Independent 28/12/2016 80% of EU Internal Security funds to Malta are committed to projects - Ian Borg
Times of Malta 09/04/2013 Malta Security Service Ignored Invitations for International Collaboration
Times of Malta 29/10/2015 Watch: Abducted Maltese man released in Libya, expresses relief
The Malta Independent 02/01/2016 Schengen rules are back in place, Home Affairs Ministry says; no threats made against Malta
Reuters 27/0//2017 EU border controls could be extended in crisis, Commission says
Times of Malta 08/08/2016 Police facing a brain drain
Malta Today 24/08/2015 Online poll | Absolute majority mistrust Malta’s Police Force
Times of Malta 30/08/2016 Malta is (almost) the best place in the world for foreigners, says Expat Insider
Crimemalta.com
Position paper regarding the Amendments to the police act
The Malta Independent 22/10/2017 Protesters sit down on road in front of police HQ to demand commissioner’s resignation
https://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20171101/local/record-drugs-haul-in-2017.661913
https://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20171014/local/three-plead-not-guilty-after-maltas-biggest-ever-drug-haul.660383
https://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20170316/local/customs-make-maltas-biggest-ever-narcotics-haul-drugs-worth-millions.642595
https://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20170510/local/three-ukrainians-arrested-at-sea-by-the-afm-accused-of-people.647593
https://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20171026/local/21-kilograms-of-smuggled-water-pipe-tobacco-intercepted-at-the-airport.661420
https://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20171102/local/police-uncover-asylum-racket-while-investigating-serious-crime.662013
https://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20170427/local/three-new-eu-projects-approved.646409
Malta Today 03/04/17 St Julian’s scores highest crime rate, five times national average
Times of Malta 29/06/17 US Report says Malta failing to take necessary action to fight crime
Times of Malta 03/11/17 One in three murders remain unsolved.
Times of Malta 21/02/17 Cracking Malta’s Latest Spate of Car Bombs

Global Inequalities

#32

To what extent does the government demonstrate an active and coherent commitment to promoting equal socioeconomic opportunities in developing countries?

10
 9

The government actively and coherently engages in international efforts to promote equal socioeconomic opportunities in developing countries. It frequently demonstrates initiative and responsibility, and acts as an agenda-setter.
 8
 7
 6


The government actively engages in international efforts to promote equal socioeconomic opportunities in developing countries. However, some of its measures or policies lack coherence.
 5
 4
 3


The government shows limited engagement in international efforts to promote equal socioeconomic opportunities in developing countries. Many of its measures or policies lack coherence.
 2
 1

The government does not contribute (and often undermines) efforts to promote equal socioeconomic opportunities in developing countries.
Global Social Policy
4
The Maltese government has very limited opportunities to help shape or advance social inclusion beyond its borders. What little influence of this kind it has acquired is related to its participation in international organizations (such as the UN and WHO) and EU Ministerial Councils. In 2004, Malta committed itself to allocate 0.33% of GNI to Official Development Assistance (ODA) by 2015. However, Malta’s foreign affairs minister recently stated that Malta was pledging only €900,000 in 2017, even though the 2016 national contribution should have been around €30 million. Malta has also received criticism from CONCORD (a European confederation of Relief and Development NGOs) regarding the actual share of the funds that reach these developing societies at the grassroots level. An analysis of the 2016 funds indicates that a large percentage was put toward domestic use. Transparency in the distribution of funding may decline with the recent disbanding of the ODA advisory board. On the other hand, Malta is supportive of EU efforts to address the refugee crisis and is the only EU member state to have fulfilled its asylum relocation commitments, accepting 131 refugees and asylum-seekers. Moreover, through the EU, Malta contributes to the EU Emergency Trust Fund supported by the Joint Valletta Action Plan and the Malta Declaration during Malta’s EU presidency in 2017. Private sources also contribute significantly to development projects in other countries. Indeed, 12 projects financed and/or implemented on a voluntary basis by Maltese Non-Governmental Development Organizations (NGDOs) have been selected for co-financing by the government in 2016. Malta is also attempting to take the lead in development education and has introduced a master’s degree in humanitarian action, targeting field workers in the Middle East, North Africa and the Gulf region.

Malta’s development policy attaches special importance to countries in the Horn of Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa, the main source of asylum-seekers and clandestine immigrants to Malta. Malta’s development policy also seeks to assist with development in Mediterranean states, notably North Africa and the Palestinian territories, providing scholarships and other forms of aid. Malta also actively assists other small states through the Commonwealth by making available its acquired experience and expertise as a developed small island country. In general, Malta follows the lead of the European Union; its policies on tariffs are in line with those agreed to in Brussels.

Since 2015, Malta has used its role as Chair of the Commonwealth Heads of Governments Meeting to press for development in a number of areas, including polio eradication, financial support for poorer Commonwealth states, combating climate change and women rights. Malta also hosted the Commonwealth Local Government Forum in November 2017.

Citations:
Official Development Assistance Policy and a Framework for Humanitarian Assistance 2014 – 2020 p.8
Malta Today 06/09/2017 Malta’s overseas development aid way off €30 million target
The Malta Independent 03/01/2016 Malta ‘inflates’ official development aid figures by 50%
Times of Malta 22/09/2015 Updated: Malta to get 189 refugees as part of EU relocation plan
https://ec.europa.eu/europeaid/regions/africa/eu-emergency-trust-fund/north-africa_en
https://foreignaffairs.gov.mt/en/Government/Press%20Releases/Pages/Official-De velopment-Assistance-2016.aspx
https://www.um.edu.mt/news_on_campus/features/2012/mahumanitarianaction
ttps://foreignaffairs.gov.mt/en/PDF%20Documents/Scholarship%20Document%20-%20P alestine.pdf
Times of Malta 26/11/2015 Commonwealth trade facility to be set up
Times of Malta 28/11/2015 Commonwealth can bridge divide on climate change
Times of Malta 25/11/2015 Malta to host Commonwealth Center to help small states, contribute €100,000
Times of Malta 27/11/2015 Financial services: ‘some of best growth opportunities in Commonwealth’
http://www.cvent.com/events/commonwealth-local-government-conference-2017/custom-114-aa1de6ec6d75469b9be8f952bfedd9a6.aspx
Malta Today 25/09/17 Malta the only EU country to fulfill asylum relocation quota
European Council 03/02/17 Malta Declaration by members of the European Council on the external aspects of migration
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