Malta

   

Social Policies

#29
Key Findings
With a number of reform needs evident despite ongoing improvements, Malta falls into the lower-middle ranks (rank 29) with respect to social policies. Its score for this measure has improved by 0.5 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 aimed at encouraging students to stay in school are underway.

Poverty and social exclusion risks are declining, but remain significant for the elderly and the unemployed, and particularly migrants from outside the EU. Employment rates are low among women, though less so among young people. Workplace policies including free child care and financial incentives for mothers returning to work have led to recent gains. Rising house prices are seen as a concern.

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
Due to a lack of natural resources in Malta, 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 continue their educations. These include free support for students at risk of failing and/or who have failed admission to higher-education institutions, as well as 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 an alternative-learning program have been introduced. The Malta Visual and Performing Arts School was officially inaugurated in 2018, catering specifically to secondary students with special talents in the arts. New vocational subjects have been introduced in schools with the aim of complementing the traditional academic route. A project to provide every child in the fourth year of primary school with a tablet computer is also underway. New schools are being built and others modernized. A staggered removal of exam fees was announced in the 2018 budget.

Despite these investments, attainments are not strong. The 2016 Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) ranked Malta 20th for mathematics and 22nd for science out of 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, in 2015, just 27.8% of the Maltese population had attained a tertiary level of education compared to an EU-28 average of 38.7%. Malta currently has the highest early leavers rate in the EU, with nearly one in every five Maltese youth between the ages of 18 and 24 withdrawing from education or training. The PISA 2015 survey found that Maltese students had improved their ranking in the subjects of mathematics, reading and science, and noted additionally improved performance among 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 the availability of 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 have attempted to address remaining concerns. These include the establishment 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, and increased financial support to Gozitan and adult students. In 2018, a new post-graduate diploma in the Maltese sign language was launched with the aim of providing greater assistance for deaf children in school.

A proposed Malta University Act intended to render the university more financially secure while making its structures more efficient and transparent met with opposition, and was withdrawn by the government. The same is true of recently proposed changes to the Education Act. A number of administrative challenges have also slowed reforms. These include difficulties with teacher recruitment, high student-teacher ratios and delays in the building of new schools. The education sector more generally has long failed to meet the needs of the economy in various sectors, a fact that should also prompt further reforms.

Citations:
http://www.mcast.edu.mt/92
https://servizz.gov.mt/en/Pages/Education_-Science-and-Technology/Education-Services/Primary-and-Secondary-Education/WEB547/default.aspx
Youth Guarantee Malta Implementation Plan p.22
https://newsbreak.edu.mt/2018/03/16/the-visual-performing-arts-school-is-a-first-in-malta/
http://www.digital.edu.mt/
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 p.7
Times of Malta 20/10/2018 Early school leavers in Malta are highest in the EU
PISA 2015 Survey
Claudia Vallejo and Melinda Dooly, (2008) Educational Policies that address Social Inequalities: Country Report Malta p. 16
National Reform Programme Malta 2018 p. 29
Consultation Paper, Increased Access, Better Quality: A Vision for Tomorrow’s University in the Modern World, The University of Malta Act
The Malta Independent 04/04/ Government scraps governing board proposal for University of Malta
Times of Malta 6/10/2018 Teachers’ strike called off, back to school on Monday
Press Reader 2/11/17 MIM calls for substantial reform in education and accreditation system
Times of Malta 07/03/2018 Third of companies in Malta reporting skills shortage
Times of Malta 24/11/18 Education of deaf children still poor

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. To this end, budgetary measures have been introduced over the last three years aimed at raising benefit levels within the lower pension band, and at creating incentives to bring people back to work. Social-security expenditures totaled to €497.0 million during the first half of 2018, 3.6% higher than the expenditure for the same period in 2017. In 2017, the at-risk-of poverty or social exclusion rate was 19.2%, which represented a 0.9% decrease over the preceding year. The 2018 Commission Staff Working Document highlighted that poverty and social exclusion risks are declining but remain significant for particular population segments such as single-earner households and the low-skilled. A total of 2.6% of those living in private households reside in overcrowded accommodations, and rising housing prices (up by 5.7% since 2017) are increasingly being regarded as a source of concern. Indeed, the increasing demand for rental accommodation has directly affected lower-income Maltese tenants. A recently published white paper on the issue of rental-market reforms aims to create a more balanced scenario, and the 2019 budget increases rent subsidies for the vulnerable. The government has also introduced a scheme to help low-wage earners to buy housing. Data on the number of homeless individuals in Malta remains absent or incomplete.

Disabled persons remain relatively marginalized, but unemployment rates 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. A €3.3 million project has been implemented with goals of training 300 people with disabilities, 750 families and employers and workers. Foreigners, and particularly migrants from outside the EU are also likely to be at the risk of poverty and social exclusion. The country’s first migrant-integration strategy was launched at the end of 2017. Nonetheless, integration remains a key concern, particularly in localities with large non-EU migrant communities, where children of African parentage in particular face poverty. Africans in Malta are among the poorest paid in the EU. Recent events have also shed light on the squalid conditions in which these migrants are sometimes forced to live.

Several measures have been introduced over the last few years to address cross-cutting social problems. These include supplementary benefits for children, breakfast at school, free school transport, 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, an annual bonus for senior citizens over the age of 75 and the introduction of the Silver T transport service for the elderly. These social measures have been consolidated further in the 2019 budget with the removal of means-testing provisions for rental subsidies, additional benefits for individuals with disabilities, and supplementary allowances for minimum-wage earners and pensioners.

Citations:
Budget Speech 2018 Malta p. 16, p.22
National Statistics Office (NSO) News Release 119/2018
National Statistics Office (NSO) News Release 120/2018
National Statistics Office (NSO) News Release 159/2018
Commission Staff Working Document - Country Report Malta 2018 SWD (2018) 216 final p.2, p.22
Times of Malta 22/08/2018 Maltese tenants losing rental market ‘bidding war’
The Malta Independent 17/10/2018 White Paper, calls for subsidies for the vulnerable, Rent Index
The Malta Independent National Statistics Office Number of unemployed persons falls by 28% in August – NSO
Budget 2016 Speech (English) p. 31
Budget 2015 Speech (English) p. 49
Malta Today 09/02/2018 €3.3m project to train people with disabilities, families and employers
Times of Malta 15/12/2017 Malta gets a migrant integration strategy
Malta Today 26/09/2018 Is there no solution for down-and-out migrants in Marsa?
Times of Malta 13/08/2018 Watch: Migrants found living “inhumanely” in cow stalls in Qormi
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
Times of Malta 24/11/2016 Child poverty is expensive
Times of Malta 22/10/2018 Budget 2019 at a glance
Times of Malta 05/10/18 Malta house prices up by 5.7% since last year
Times of Malta 06/10/18 Number of officially homeless is not a reality
Times of Malta 23/01/18 Schemes to help low income earners to buy property less than 120,000 euros
Times of Malta 30/11/18 Africans in Malta among poorest paid in the EU

Health

#25

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
in 2018, Malta was ranked at 9th place in the annual health-related index published in the medical journal Lancet. With regard to general performance, the country advanced five places relative to the previous year, and obtained full marks for 10 indicators. The Maltese population enjoys the highest healthy life expectancy in the EU, and access to services is generally good. 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. However, the Euro Health Consumer Index 2017 found that despite Malta’s decent access to health care, performance lagged when it came to treatment results. Moreover, there were noticeable gaps in the public subsidy system and little data on drug usage. 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). Couples are entitled to IVF services, and the government also supports oncology patients, providing otherwise expensive treatments for free.

Malta fares well in terms of self-reported unmet need for medical care, with just 2.8% of the total population reporting such a need, compared to the EU-28 average of 4.5%. Much has been done to reduce patient waiting times and dependence on private hospital care. A 2017 National Audit Office (NAO) report stated that there had been a 22% decrease in patient waiting time for elective operations. Nonetheless, the average patient waits eight months for their first outpatient appointment, a time 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 services is not serving as an effective gatekeeper for secondary care. The report also indicates that the main hospital had improved outpatient services.

The government has initiated a number of infrastructure projects over the last few years. For example, the general hospital’s limited bed capacity has been increased by building new wards and devising plans to add new buildings to the existing infrastructure, while a new oncology hospital has been added on the same site. An additional 300 beds are expected to be added over the next four years, along with a new outpatient block, an acute-care mental hospital and a new maternity ward. A long-term strategic health care plan for the period 2020 – 2030 is currently being drafted, while state-of-the-art robotic technology for surgical operations is expected to enter service in 2019. Patients will also started being treated remotely. There have been repeated calls for reform of the mental-health sector and for a new mental health hospital. A 2018 NAO audit described the country’s mental-health hospital as underfunded, understaffed and lacking in adequate security. Meanwhile, medical cannabis was legalized in 2018. A WHO study determined that Malta has the second highest rate of obesity in Europe.

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 only a small number of private hospitals. Malta also has fewer hospital beds per 100,000 inhabitants than many of its European counterparts. Health-related expenditure is equivalent to 2.9% of GDP. The country’s stock of doctors and nurses is close to the EU average. The European Commission has expressed concerns about Malta’s ability to meet growing long-term care demands due to its aging population and has recommended that Malta take action to ensure the sector’s sustainability.

Citations:
Times of Malta 05/09/2012 Three health agreements signed with Italy
https://deputyprimeminister.gov.mt/en/cbhc/Pages/Entitlement/Reciprocal-Agreement-MaltaUK.aspx
Euro Health Consumer Index 2017 p. 16
Times of Malta 06/0/2018 104 IVF births at Mater Dei in first two years
https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/statistics-explained/index.php?title=File:Share_of_persons_aged_16_and_over_reporting_unmet_needs_for_medical_examination_or_treatment,_by_detailed_reason,_2016.png
National Audit Office Performance Audit: Outpatient Waiting at Mater Dei Hospital 2017
The Malta Independent 20/09/2015 Sir Anthony Mamo oncology center officially inaugurated Times of Malta Times of Malta 09/10/2018 Robots to start assisting Mater Dei doctors during surgery
The Malta Independent 29/09/2018 PM Muscat meets Steward Healthcare top officials, visits hospital in Boston
Times of Malta 04/07/2018 Mt Carmel Hospital is under-funded, under staffed and lacking security, audit finds
Malta Today 27/03/2018 Malta has officially legalised medical cannabis
http://www.theweek.co.uk/96429/ten-fattest-countries-in-europe
https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/tgm/table.do?tab=table&init=1&language=en&pcode=tps00046&plugin=1
Commission Staff Working Document - Country Report Malta 2018 SWD (2018) 216 final p.19
COUNCIL RECOMMENDATION on the 2018 National Reform Programme of Malta and delivering a Council opinion on the 2018 Stability Programme of Malta Brussels, 23.5.2018 COM (2018) 417 final p.5
Health systems in transition vol 19 no 1 2017 Malta Health System Review, N Azzopardi Muscat, N Buttigieg, N Calleja, S Merkur, European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies
State of health in the EU: Malta, country health profile 2017, OECD, European observatory on health systems and policies

Families

#24

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 20% between the employment rates for women and men (80.3% for males vis-à-vis 60.2% for females), Malta has the widest gender-based employment gap in the European Union. However, women’s 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 11% less than their male counterparts. The Global Gender Gap Report 2017 ranks Malta at 93rd place out of 144 countries, and Malta’s score on the EU’s Gender Equality Index 2017 is below the EU-28 average. According to data released by the National Statistics Office (NSO) in 2018, women live longer than men, and more women than men graduate from universities, but they earn less and are at greater risk of poverty.

Labor-market participation rates are high for women aged 30 or less, but this figure decreases for 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. Indeed, the parents of more than 6,000 children are benefitting from free child-care facilities. These measures are enabling more women to enter and remain in the labor market, with Malta experiencing the EU’s highest increase in labor-market participation rates among women since 2008. Indeed, this rate increased from 48.8% in 2012 to 60.2% in 2017. 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. A European Commission report shows that since 2011, the percentage of Maltese under three years of age in such education shot up from 11% to 31%, in 2016 putting Malta close to the Barcelona target of 33%. The government has pledged to increase the provision of child care for parents that work at night. Discussions are currently ongoing as to whether parents should be able to utilize their sick leave for instances when their children are unwell. Since 2015, the Maternity Leave Trust Fund has legally obliged employers to contribute the equivalent of 0.3% of each employee’s salary, irrespective of the employee’s gender. Notwithstanding, family/child benefits as a share of total social benefit remains low, at just over 6%. The 2019 budget is introducing tax rebates for parents whose children attend private schools, an increase in child allowances for households earning less than €20,000 a year and the removal of MATSEC exam fees.

Citations:
National Statistics Office (NSO) News Release 150/2018
European Semester Thematic Factsheet - Women in the Labor Market p. 2
European Semester Thematic Factsheet – Undeclared Work p. 3
Eurostat News Release 38/2018
The Global Gender Gap Report 2017 p. 230
Gender Equality Index 2017: Malta
Commission Staff Working Document - Country Report Malta 2018 SWD (2018) 216 final p.2
https://www.gov.mt/en/Services-And-Information/Business-Areas/Education%20and%20Learning/Pages/Early-Years.aspx
National Reform Programme 2018 Malta p. 27
The Malta Independent 18/11/2018 Over 6,000 children are using free child care scheme
National Statistics Office (NSO) News Release 165/2018
Times of Malta 21/07/2015 New Maternity Leave Trust Fund launched in bid to end gender discrimination
Times of Malta 22/10/2018 Budget 2019 at a glance
The Malta Independent 08/10/2018 Unions propose leave for parents with ill children, VAT exemption on services for pensioners
The Independent 09/03/18 women live more, graduate more but earn less

Pensions

#26

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 social-security benefits amounted to €497.0 million during the first six months of 2018, with an increase of €14.1 million for 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. Indeed, the sustainability of pensions has been a recurring point of concern in the European Commission’s Country Specific Recommendations in the last few years. This concern was restated in the 2018 Country Specific Recommendations for Malta.

In 2014, the parliament voted to introduce a third pillar to the pension system. However, it will be some time before this reform can reduce the stress of pension costs on public finances. Second-pillar pensions have not yet been introduced, though this is increasingly regarded as an important addition to the pension system. 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 the development of a flexible and sustainable pension system. However, the report was criticized for failing to address the issue of how to get people to save voluntarily, and for offering only weak definitions of what constitutes a strong system and what benchmarks should be used. Within this context, a government scheme is aiming to encourage increased voluntary saving through a system of occupational pensions.

Nonetheless, 26.4% of individuals aged 65 years and over are at risk of poverty and social exclusion. The Maltese pension system is based on a pay-as-you-go model, as well as a means-tested non-contributory system. Until recently, pensions were not linked to inflation, and considerable erosion in real value occurred. Although this has been partially rectified, the real value of pensions today cannot make up for decades of decline. Low tax ceilings have also meant that pensioners have been required to pay income tax on their pensions. As it stands, Malta’s pension system protects against absolute poverty, but does not constitute an adequate income replacement. Additionally, women are worse off and a European Parliament report states that the gender gap in pensions is one of the EU’s greatest.
Measures have been taken since 2013 to address these shortcomings. Most notably the 2016 budget included incremental benefits for pensioners who receive less than €140 per week, and no tax increases for pensioners, while 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. The non-taxable income ceiling will be raised further during 2019, and a rise in pensions over and above cost-of-living adjustments has also been announced. Government bonds designed to provide pensioners with an additional source of revenue have also been launched. Increases have also been made to disability pensions, and allowances provided to those caring for the elderly. NGOs have also flagged the issue of lack of pensions for migrants working in undeclared jobs, a fact that will impact these individuals and the economy more broadly in years to come. The 2018 European Commission adequacy report recommended that a mechanism be introduced to ensure that national insurance contributions after retirement are reflected in pension amounts, and that pensions be increased through a formula that equally reflects wage inflation and retail price inflation.

Citations:
National Statistics Office (NSO) News Release 119/2018
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
Recommendation for a COUNCIL RECOMMENDATION on the 2018 National Reform Programme of Malta and delivering a Council opinion on the 2018 Stability Programme of Malta Brussels, COM (2018) 417 final p.5
Times of Malta 04/12/2014 Third pillar pensions: a first step?
https://socialsecurity.gov.mt/en/Pensions-Reform/Pages/Questions-and-Answers-.aspx
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
National Statistics Office (NSO) News Release 159/2018
Malta Today 29/11/2012 Budget 2013 at a glance
Budget 2019 Speech (Maltese) p. 15
The Malta Independent 13/10/2015 Budget 2016: What’s in it for you – point by point, how the budget will affect you
Times of Malta 22/06/16 Government will not introduce second pillar pensions by stealth
The Malta Independent 18/10/16 Budget 2017: Pensions and Pensioners Given a boost
Budget 2017 Speech (Maltese) p. 36
Budget 2019 Speech (Maltese) p. 15, p. 19, p.20
Times of Malta 06/06/2018 €100m scheme meant to offer pensioners additional revenue stream
Times of Malta 11/03/16 NGOs warn of problem over lack of pensions for migrants
Times of Malta 07/09/18 Pensioner’s Budget Expectations
European Parliament 2017 Gender Gap in Pensions: Looking Ahead

Integration

#39

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
Malta’s geographical location places it at the center of migration flows from Africa to Europe. On a per capita basis, the island receives a relatively high number of migrants and asylum seekers, with the numbers having increased drastically over the last decade. In 2017 and 2018, Malta received 168 refugees and asylum seekers from Italy and Greece – more than the 131 it legally committed to accept under the EU relocation program.

Malta has begun to consolidate its policy approach to integration only recently, with a migrant integration policy launched at the end of 2017. Under the current government, the Ministry for European Affairs and Equality is responsible for the integration of migrants. The new Human Rights and Integration Directorate unit within this ministry is responsible for the provision of integration courses including Maltese, and English, as well as the cultural-orientation classes, awareness campaigns and spearhead measures listed in the Migrant Integration Action Plan. However, teacher training in this area needs to be stepped up. Notable among these measures is the ability granted to long-term migrants to apply for residency permits. 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 spearheads important initiatives such as the new initial reception centers, the creation of a work registration system, and detention-policy reform.

The number of migrants granted subsidiary or humanitarian protections is very high and UNHCR figures indicate a rejection rate of 12.5% for the year 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. Maltese legislation has now been brought in line with EU Directive 2003/86, and the relevant domestic law was amended in 2017 to facilitate family reunification, especially in the case of refugees. 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. At a recent public consultation, the French Minister for European Affairs commended Malta for its role on the issue of migration long before it became a key European concern. In his recent address to the UN General Assembly, the prime minister highlighted the UN’s Global Compact for Migration as an important milestone, and Malta has now endorsed it. However, he also called for a broader global response to human trafficking networks in the Mediterranean. Meanwhile, a U.S. State Department report stated that Malta does not have minimum standards for the elimination of human traffic. Stand-offs between Malta and Italy related to migrant search and rescue areas occur regularly.

Evidence of poverty and homelessness among migrants indicates the need for government to allocate more resources to this group. The risk of poverty for migrants increased by 9% between 2010 and 2016, reaching 29.4%. The incidence of rent-related exploitation has also increased. Integration difficulties in communities with large migrant populations remain especially pronounced, and Malta has been urged by the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance to consolidate its efforts in the area of migrant integration. This may prove to be problematic given that 63% of Maltese think that immigration is a problem; moreover, the country’s native population is among the least likely to interact with migrants across the European Union.

In December 2018, Minister for European Affairs and Equality Helena Dalli proposed an extension of voting rights in local elections to third-country nationals. However, the cabinet did not support the proposal. The issue of citizenship for the children of asylum-seekers born in Malta also needs to be urgently reassessed. 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. According to Education Ministry statistics, some school districts contain between 50% and 70% immigrant children from European or other countries. If the government does not plan for the future, the lack of integration will become a major problem.

Citations:
Commission Staff Working Document - Country Report Malta 2018 SWD (2018) 216 final p.26
The Malta Independent 15/012/2017 Equality Minister Helena Dalli launches migrant integration policy
https://meae.gov.mt/en/Pages/The_Ministry/Brief.aspx
The Malta Independent 22/03/2018 Human Rights and Integration Directorate awarded €2 million project
The Malta Independent 15/12/2018 Long-term migrants to be able to apply for permanent residence permit under new integration programme
https://homeaffairs.gov.mt /en/MHAS-Departments/awas/Pages/AWAS.aspx
https://homeaffairs.gov.mt/en/MHAS-Departments/The%20Office%20of%20the%20Refugee%20Commissioner/Pages/Refugee.aspx
Times of Malta 30/10/2016 ‘We are dealing with humans not categories’ - New Refugee Commissioner interviewed
http://www.unhcr.org.mt/charts/
Times of Malta 03/01/2016 New migration strategy is a step in right direction – NGOs
http://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/press/press-releases/2017/02/03/malta-declaration/
Malta Today 02/11/2018 Nathalie Loiseu: ‘Malta is not alone anymore’
https://www.gov.mt/en/Government/Press%20Releases/Pages/2018/September/27/PR182069.aspx
Times of Malta 06/09/2018 Malta again fails to take action to fight human trafficking - US State Department
Malta Today 26/09/2018 Is there no solution for down-and-out migrants in Marsa?
Malta Today 15/05/2018 Malta urged to do more on migrant integration by Council of Europe anti-racism body
The Malta Independent 20/08/2018 Updated (2): EU seeks hosts for migrants amid new Italy, Malta standoff
The People for change foundation (2017) Ethnic Minorities Beyond Migration: The Case of Malta.
The People for change Foundations Migration in Malta 2016 Report
Aditus, NGO Submissions to the Public Consultation on National Migration Integration Strategy 2015 –2020
Times of Malta 15/07/18 Teachers schooling migrants to help them integrate not given the right training
Amnesty International report: Malta 2017/2018

Safe Living

#31

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.
Internal Security Policy
6
Malta is generally considered a safe place to live. Crime rates have remained largely stable with the crime rate experiencing a slight drop during 2017, though fraud cases have increased drastically. Conflicts between criminal organizations involved in drug trafficking and money laundering also occur from time to time. Malta has one of the lowest murder rates in the world. However, the car bombing of a well-known Maltese journalist during the period under review garnered intense international attention.

There are few external security threats to the state, making it difficult to assess local readiness or the state’s ability to protect citizens if such threats were to materialize. The U.S. State Department highlights the fact that like all other European countries, Malta is vulnerable to transnational terrorist groups. However, in its 2018 report on crime and safety in Malta, the U.S. Department of State’s Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC) assessed the country as being a low threat location. This is particularly significant when one considers Malta’s geographic location and open borders with other Schengen-area members. Numbeo ranked Malta 25th worldwide on its Safety Index based on data compiled in mid-2018.

Malta is affiliated with Interpol, and is also party to several cross-border security cooperation efforts, particularly those coordinated by the European Union. Frontex operations in the Mediterranean area are also of pivotal importance to the island. Operation Themis was launched early in 2018, and unlike its predecessor (Operation Triton) does not stipulate that individuals rescued at sea should automatically be taken to Italy, leading to significant tension between Italy and Malta. 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 2014 – 2020 programming period through the Internal Security Fund and the Asylum, Migration, and Integration Fund. A total of €9.2 million in EU funds have been allocated for the modernization of the Maltese police forces and for border-security projects.

Malta’s Secret Service is small, and depends heavily on intelligence from foreign intelligence services. Moreover, confidence in the Maltese police force is generally low, and four commissioners have resigned over a five-year period. A 2016 report found that the police force lacks direction. A policy revision that no longer requires police officers to have clean conduct for the purposes of rehiring and promotion was not received well. A total of 24 murders have remained unsolved since 2008. Pressure is growing for the resignation of the current police commissioner. Institutional capacity to deal with organized crime has not kept pace with the rapid change in Malta’s economic and social structures. There has been some discussion of setting up an independent anti-organized-crime commission tasked with investigating corruption and organized crime, based on models used internationally. A 2018 assessment by the U.S. State Department found that for the seventh consecutive year, Malta had failed to meet minimum standards in the fight against human trafficking.

Citations:
Times of Malta 30/04/2018 ‘Massive increase’ in fraud reports in 2017, despite slight drop in crime rate
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
The Malta Independent 11/06/2018 ‘Migrants’ search and rescue took place outside operational waters’ - Frontex
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 22/05/2017 €9.2 million in EU funds for police modernisation, border security projects
Malta Today 21/05/2018 Trust in the Police needs to be rebuilt
The Malta Independent 07/08/2016 Police force ‘lacks direction’, full skills-audit recommended
The Malta Independent 25/01/2018 TMID Editorial: Faith in the force - Police officers and criminal histories
Lovin Malta 10/08/2018 There Have Been 24 Unsolved Murders In Malta Since 2008
Times of Malta 23/10/2017 Have your say: Do you have confidence in the police?
Times of Malta 06/09/2018 Malta again fails to take action to fight human trafficking - US State Department
Times of Malta 21/10/18 setting up of anti organised crime commission being raised

Global Inequalities

#33

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 stated that Malta was pledging only €900,000 in 2017, even though the 2016 national contribution should have been €33 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. More recent figures are not available, but a 2018 Implementation Plan delineates several main areas of implementation (co-funding of official development assistance projects, capacity building, the creation of the Arvid Pardo scholarship fund, and contributions to trust funds for the purposes of humanitarian aid funding).

Malta supports EU efforts to address the refugee crisis, and was the only EU member state to have fulfilled its asylum relocation commitments in 2017. The country had accepted 168 refugees as of October 2018. Malta will also provide its support for the UN Global compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration. In the last quarter of the review period, the prime minister attempted to facilitate the creation of an ad hoc system for the redistribution of asylum seekers reaching Southern Europe among EU states. Moreover, through the European Union, 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. Indeed, Malta is already one of the top 10 EU donors to this fund on a per capita basis, and a slated 45% increase is set to make the country one of the largest donors. Projects implemented by Maltese non-governmental development organizations (NGDOs) also contribute significantly to development projects in other countries. Malta is attempting to establish a leading role in the area of 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. To this end, a Maltese High Commission is set to open in Ghana, making it the country’s first mission to sub-Saharan Africa. 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 is one of 26 states serving as a permanent member of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People. 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.

Between 2015 and 2018, Malta 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, while plans for the island to host the first Commonwealth Conference on direct foreign investment were announced in 2018.

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

Official Development Assistance Policy and a Framework for Humanitarian Assistance- Implementation Plan 2018
Malta Today 25/09/17 Malta the only EU country to fulfill asylum relocation quota
https://ec.europa.eu/home-affairs/sites/homeaffairs/files/what-we-do/policies/european-agenda-migration/press-material/docs/state_of_play_-_relocation_en.pdf
European Council 03/02/17 Malta Declaration by members of the European Council on the external aspects of migration
https://ec.europa.eu/europeaid/regions/africa/eu-emergency-trust-fund/north-africa_en
Newsbook 16/10/2018 Malta to be one of largest donors to Africa’s Emergency Trust Fund
https://www.um.edu.mt/arts/int-relations/courses/ma-humanitarianaction
Times of Malta 31/01/2018 Malta to open high commission in Ghana
https://www.um.edu.mt/newspoint/noticeboard/opportunities/2018/04/scholarshipsforpalestinianstudents-postgraduatestudiesatum
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
TVM 16/04/2018 PM announces that Malta will host first Commonwealth Conference on direct foreign investment
Back to Top