Malta

   

Social Policies

#26
Key Findings
With a number of reform needs evident despite ongoing improvements, Malta falls into the lower-middle ranks (rank 26) with respect to social policies. Its score for this measure has improved by 0.7 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. PISA scores lower than the OECD average. Fiscal and other support is provided to students at risk of failing, or who have failed to win admission to higher-education institutions.

Poverty and social exclusion risks are declining, but remain significant for children, people with disabilities, the elderly and non-EU migrants. 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 a concern.

Pension spending is worryingly high as a share of GDP. Tax incentives are provided for investments in private pensions. The healthcare system offers inpatient and outpatient care for free, with some gaps. Wait times have decreased, but can still be long. A surge in sea arrivals and sea rescues of asylum seekers has led the government to reintroduce long periods of detention in substandard conditions.

Education

#30

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
6
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.

The government has implemented a number of programs since 2013 seeking to encourage more students to pursue educational opportunities. Some of these have entailed fiscal support, such as the provision of 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) in order to better address learning challenges at different educational levels. The Malta Visual and Performing Arts School was officially inaugurated in 2018, catering specifically to secondary students with special talents in the arts. A secondary school for students gifted in various sports disciplines is also operational. New vocational subjects have been introduced in schools with the aim of complementing the traditional academic route. A “One Tablet per Child” scheme is in place. New schools have been built and others modernized. To eliminate possible financial obstacles, exam fees were eliminated in 2019.

Malta currently has the EU’s second-highest school drop-out rate, while 31.1% of adults aged 25 – 54 have a tertiary level of education (compared to the EU average of 35.2%). This latter figure indicates growth as compared to previous years. The government has continued with its efforts to reduce the drop-out rate, but has not always been supported by the strongly unionized teachers. In 2019, Maltese students took second place among the 45 countries participating in the annual Supertmatic Mental Maths challenge. The island’s 2018 PISA scores remain relatively unchanged from previous years, with Malta falling within the lower range of the middle 33% due to scores lower than the OECD average in the reading, mathematics and science sections. However, the mean performance level in mathematics has improved relative to 2010. The country’s gender gap (in favor of girls) in reading, mathematics and science was higher than the average OECD gap. Some 13% of disadvantaged students in Malta were able to score in the top quartile in terms of reading performance (OECD average 11%). A number of reforms aimed at improving the education system are being contemplated, including the replacement of benchmarking at the end of primary school with continuous assessment, with the aim of smoothing the transition from primary school to secondary school; the introduction of bilingual exam papers for mathematics; and a reform of the post-secondary exams and matriculation certificate system to include a continuous assessment system. A reading recovery program recently introduced by the education authorities ensured that four out of every five students who attended the course went from having weak to strong reading and writing skills in 20 weeks.

Malta provides a high level of equitable access to education at all levels. A total of 80% of all schools are free, and various measures exist to support students who need help. Access to higher education is open to all due to the absence of tuition fees and the availability of stipends for students. The provision of free state preschool facilities for children three years and over has been greatly expanded. Changes to the education system outlined in 2018 and 2019 attempted to address the lack of alignment between education and the needs of the economy in various sectors. These include the introduction of Education-Business Encounters, the enactment of the Work-Based Learning and Apprenticeship Act, and the validation of informal and non-formal learning processes. Nevertheless, the education sector continues to fail to meet the needs of the economy in various sectors. Other challenges have also slowed reform, including difficulties with teacher recruitment, high student-teacher ratios, expanding student populations due to relatively high birthrates among the migrant communities that make up 9% of the school population, and delays in the building of new schools. However, school principals in Malta have reported fewer staff shortages and materials shortages than the OECD average. In Malta, 32% of students recently reported being bullied at least a few times a month, compared to an average of 23% across the OECD as a whole.

Citations:
https://www.mcast.edu.mt/
Youth Guarantee Malta Implementation Plan p.22
https://newsbreak.edu.mt/2018/03/16/the-visual-performing-arts-school-is-a-fir st-in-malta/
https://nss.skola.edu.mt/
http://www.digital.edu.mt/
Budget Speech 2019 (English) p.83
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
https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/statistics-explained/index.php/Early_leavers_from_education_and_training
https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/statistics-explained/index.php/Early_leavers_from_education_and_training
Claudia Vallejo and Melinda Dooly, (2008) Educational Policies that address Social Inequalities: Country Report Malta p. 16
National Reform Programme Malta 2019 p. 42
Malta Independent 12/09/2019 Teachers Crisis Needs to Be Tackled with More Long-Term Initiatives – Education Faculty
Malta Today 6/06/19 Maltese students place second in international maths competition
Malta Today 27/06/ 19 Benchmarking at the end of primary school to be phased out
Malta Independent 03/08/19 MUT Takes aim at MATSEC over proposed reforms
TimesofMalta 10/09/19 second chance course turned poor readers into good ones in 20 weeks
https://www.oecd.org/pisa/publications/PISA2018_CN_MLT.pdf

Social Inclusion

#14

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, healthcare and education are available free of charge. A failure to adjust pension and welfare benefit levels previous to 2013 had increased the risk of poverty among the unemployed and the elderly, significantly increasing their risk of social exclusion. To this end, budgetary measures have been introduced in recent years with the aim of raising benefit levels within the lower pension band, while also creating incentives to bring people back to work. The 2020 budget reiterated this stance, and included a significant rise in pensions as well as a range of allowances and bonuses aimed at ameliorating the conditions of disadvantaged groups.

Social security expenditures totaled €512 million during the first half of 2019, 3% higher than the expenditure for the same period in 2018. Malta has the fifth lowest in-work poverty rate in the EU, at 5.2%. However between 2012 and 2017, the number of employed persons at risk of in-work poverty increased by 13.5%, though in the same period the number of employees suffering from material and social deprivation decreased significantly from 15.4% in 2014 to 4.3% in 2017. Currently, 19% of the population is the verge of falling into poverty or social exclusion, down from 20%. The 2019 Commission Staff Working Document noted that poverty and social exclusion risks are declining but remain significant for children, people with disabilities, the elderly and non-EU migrants. Women are more likely to fall into the poverty trap than men. Despite low unemployment rates, Malta’s economic-inactivity rate remains high among those with mental-health problems, women and the elderly, affecting these populations’ ability to access government benefits. Rising housing prices are increasingly regarded as a source of concern, with the increasing demand for rental accommodation directly affecting lower-income Maltese tenants. To this end, new rent regulations will come into force in 2020 with the aim of creating appropriate safeguards for renters. The 2020 budget introduced a range of measures to ensure that vulnerable strata have adequate access to housing options. This includes subsidies to help young people acquire their first property, and subsidies for rental accommodation. Data on the number of homeless individuals in Malta remain absent or incomplete, but estimates indicate that there could be around 300 individuals, mainly foreigners, living in this condition. Food price increases have been double the EU average, and the number of families making use of food banks has increased.

The number of disabled people in the workforce has increased significantly since a new enforcement policy was implemented in 2017, although there remains room for improvement. The 2020 budget also provides new and expanded financial support for disabled persons unable to work. 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. In a survey, fully 88% of sub-Saharan Africans stated that their wages were lower than those of their Maltese counterparts.

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 free public transport for the elderly. Malta’s purchasing power is now 96% of the EU average.

Citations:
https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/news/themes-in-the-spotlight/poverty-day-2019
Budget Speech 2020 (Maltese) p.12-29, p.33-34
National Statistics Office (NSO) News Release 122/2019
Commission Staff Working Document – Country Report Malta 2019 SWD (2019) 1017 final p.5
The Malta Independent 26/07/2019 New rent regulations come into force as of January 2020; seeks stability in sector
The Malta Independent 08/02/2019 The hidden scandal: an estimated 300 people are homeless
Budget 2016 Speech (English) p. 31
Budget 2015 Speech (English) p. 49
Times of Malta 15/12/2017 Malta gets a migrant-integration strategy
Anna Borg ESPN Thematic Report on In-work poverty Malta 2019 p. 10
Budget 2017 Speech (Maltese) p. 134, p. 138
Times of Malta 22/10/2018 Budget 2019 at a glance
Times of Malta 07/12/19 Food bank feeding four times more people than 19 years ago

Health

#24

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 healthcare 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 that are unavailable locally. 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.

In 2018, the Lancet medical journal ranked Malta ninth in its annual health-related index. However, the Euro Health Index 2018 ranked the country at 27th place, finding that despite decent access to healthcare, performance lags when it comes to treatment results, and that there are notable gaps in the public subsidy system. Malta’s mediocre ranking may also be due to poor scores for access to psychiatric care for children and suicide reduction, and a zero score for the country’s nonexistent abortion rights. Accessibility of patient records was also flagged. With a childhood obesity rate of 5.5%, Maltese children are among Europe’s most affected by severe childhood obesity.

Malta fares well in terms of self-reported unmet need for medical care, with just 0.2% of the total population reporting such a need, compared to the EU-28 average of 1.8%. 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 times for elective operations. Nonetheless, the average patient waits around 40 weeks for their first outpatient appointment.

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. Increased investments in regional centers that offer primary care were announced during the 2020 budget speech.

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. To this end, a Mental Health Strategy for the period 2020 – 2030 maps out the strategic direction required to effect the required changes in this area. Healthcare provisions also have to be updated to deal with a more diverse population. Meanwhile, medical cannabis was legalized in 2018.

The private sector accounts for approximately two-thirds of the workload in primary healthcare; however, healthcare 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. While the country’s overall stock of doctors and nurses is close to the EU average, the number of specialists remains relatively low. Health-related expenditure is forecast to increase by 2.7 percentage points by 2070 compared to the EU average of 0.9 percentage points. Health system capacity is being stretched due to a combination of factors, including population expansion due to increased immigration, a buoyant tourism industry, demographic aging and altered risk-taking behaviors. The European Commission has indeed expressed concerns about Malta’s ability to sustain growing long-term care demands, and has recommended that Malta take action to ensure the sector’s sustainability. To this end, a new public-private partnership contract for three existing hospitals was agreed in 2015. However, aspects of the deal are now currently under investigation

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
Times of Malta 06/0/2018 104 IVF births at Mater Dei in first two years
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
Times of Malta 10/11/2018 Malta’s health sector among the world’s top 10 – The Lancet
Euro Health Consumer Index 2018 p. 16
The Malta Independent 01/05/2019 At 5.5%, Malta’s kids most affected by severe obesity
Times of Malta 06/0/2018 104 IVF births at Mater Dei in first two years
https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/databrowser/view/sdg_03_60/default/table?lang=en
National Audit Office Performance Audit: Outpatient Waiting at Mater Dei Hospital 2017
Times of Malta 04/02/2019 40-week waiting time for Mater Dei outpatients
The Malta Independent 20/09/2015 Sir Anthony Mamo oncology center officially inaugurated Times of
The Budget Speech 2020 (Maltese) p.57
Times of Malta 04/07/2018 Mt Carmel Hospital is underfunded, under staffed and lacking security, audit finds
A Mental Health Strategy for Malta 2020-2030
Malta Today 27/03/2018 Malta has officially legalised medical cannabis
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
Commission Staff Working Document – Country Report Malta 2019 SWD (2019) 1017 final p.20
COUNCIL RECOMMENDATION of 9 July 2019 on the 2019 National Reform Programme of Malta and delivering a Council opinion on the 2019 Stability Programme of Malta (2019/C 301/18)
Malta Today 30/10/19 Agreement with Vitals and Steward healthcare are under investigation says NAO

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 24% between the employment rates for women and men, 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. In the Global Gender Gap Index for 2018, Malta was ranked at 91st place. Women score very low in terms of formal political engagement; however, in the context of education Malta is one of 25 countries to have reached parity between the sexes. Women matriculate at low rates in the subjects related to engineering, manufacturing, construction, and information and communication technologies. Malta ranks 15th within the EU on the 2019 Gender Equality Index, with 62.5 out of 100 points. The country has moved toward gender equality at a faster rate than the EU average. Malta’s score in the domain of work is 73.3, indicating progress of 12.5 points since 2005. Around 25% of women work part-time, compared to 7% of men. Mean monthly earnings almost tripled for women and men between 2006 and 2014, but the gender gap persists, with women earning an average of 15% less than men. The gender gap is even wider among couples with children (among whom women earn an average of 27% less) and among people aged 50 – 64 (among whom women earn an average of 30% less). The gender gap in earnings is also much bigger among people with high level of education (30%). The biggest gap on the index was in the power domain, which produced Malta’s lowest score.

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 and tax incentives for mothers returning to work, free child-care centers, school breakfasts, after-school clubs, and lifelong learning programs. These measures are enabling more women to enter and remain in the labor market.

The parents of more than 15,800 children are benefiting from free child-care facilities. As a result, Malta is experiencing one of the highest rates of increase in labor-market participation rates in the EU, but is still lagging behind the EU average (60.6% compared to 66.4% in 2017). Since 2015, employers have been legally obliged to contribute the equivalent of 0.3% of each employee’s salary, irrespective of the employee’s gender, to the Maternity Leave Trust Fund. The 2020 budget continued to consolidate or introduce more measures that benefit families, such as the introduction of a €300 allowance for every newborn or adopted child, free school transport for all primary and secondary school children, and an allowance for widowed parents.

Citations:
The Malta Independent Malta’s gender employment gap continues to decrease, but still the highest in Europe – Eurostat
European Semester Thematic Factsheet – Women in the Labor Market p. 2
European Semester Thematic Factsheet – Undeclared Work p. 3
Times of Malta 15/10/2019 Women in Malta earn 12% less than men
Commission Staff Working Document – Country Report Malta 2018 SWD (2018) 216 final p.2
Malta Today 30/01/2019 More than 15,800 children benefiting from free child care services
Commission Staff Working Document - Country Report Malta 2019 SWD (2019) 1017 final p.27
Times of Malta 21/07/2015 New Maternity Leave Trust Fund launched in bid to end gender discrimination
The Budget Speech 2020 (Maltese) p.19, p. 23, p. 61

Pensions

#19

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
7
Government expenditure on social security benefits amounted to €512.0 million during the first six months of 2019, with an increase of €13.1 million for retirement pensions alone. Indeed, pensions represent a substantial public expenditure with projections indicating that pension-related expenditure will increase by 3.4 percentage points 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.

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 government has also introduced tax incentives for private individuals opting to invest in a private pension plan in Malta. These tax incentives are also applicable to corporations and employers. However, labor unions have called for greater government support for work-based pensions. A Pension Strategy Group was established in 2018 and is expected to release its findings by December 2020. Within this context, a government scheme is aiming to encourage increased voluntary saving through a system of occupational pensions.

Nonetheless, 25.4% 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 noncontributory 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, since Malta has the highest gender-related pension gap in the EU.

A number of measures have been taken since 2013 to address these shortcomings. The 2020 budget continues to build on previous years, and foresees increases in contributory pensions and higher income-tax ceilings for pensioners. Government bonds designed to provide pensioners with an additional source of revenue have also been offered for the last three years. 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 lack of pensions for women who have not paid into the system remains a problem. The government provides women with a two-year tax credit for every child they raise; however this needs to be increased to reflect the EU average as well as the realities of women who have stayed home to look after children.

Citations:
National Statistics Office (NSO) News Release 122/2019
Long-Term Pension Projection For Malta: 2016-2070 p. viii
COUNCIL RECOMMENDATION of 9 July 2019 on the 2019 National Reform Programme of Malta and delivering a Council opinion on the 2019 Stability Programme of Malta (2019/C 301/18)
Times of Malta 04/12/2014 Third pillar pensions: a first step?
Commission Staff Working Document – Country Report Malta 2019 SWD (2019) 1017 final p.20
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 30/09/2019 People aged 65 or over make up 19% of population, face double risk of poverty – NSO
Times of Malta 01/06/2019 Malta’s pension gap is the widest in Europe; women earn 11% less than men
https://socialsecurity.gov.mt/en/Pensions/Pages/Contributory-Retirement-Pension-FAQ.aspx
The Budget Speech 2020 (Maltese) p.16-17, p.24
Newsbook.com.mt 21/02/2019 Gov announces 62+ Savings Bonds for the third year

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
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. It is estimated that Malta received 20% of the persons rescued or intercepted by search and rescue teams following departure from Libya between January and August 2019. This increase in numbers has prompted the government to reintroduce longer periods of detention in substandard conditions for asylum-seekers, a policy which has been heavily criticized by NGOs.

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 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. The unit is also implementing the EU-funded “I Belong” program. Meanwhile, the Agency for the Welfare of Asylum-Seekers is responsible for the provision of some services, including employment, housing, education, healthcare 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. A new information center run by Peace Lab has been set up to help migrants integrate into the workforce

A large number of migrants have been granted subsidiary or humanitarian protection. UNHCR figures indicate a rejection rate of 14% for the first seven months of 2019. 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 for combating illegal migrant routes in the Mediterranean. Meanwhile, Malta and three other member states are seeking endorsement for a fast-track procedure to be used for the evacuation and distribution of migrants to other countries.

Evidence of poverty and homelessness among migrants indicates the need for government to allocate more resources to this group. The incidence of rent-related exploitation has also increased. Integration difficulties in communities with large migrant populations remain especially pronounced, while numerous riots in detention centers have highlighted ongoing difficulties. A recent report on migrant relocation to Malta stated that the system was characterized by disorganization, a lack of coordination, deficiencies in information provision, a lack of sensitivity toward migrant experiences and low-quality conditions at the open center used for migrant reception and other services. The government is developing a new open center at Hal Far, which will raise the capacity to 2,400 asylum-seekers.

Improved watchdog and oversight mechanisms are needed to ensure that the migrant workforce is not exploited. Bangladesh and Nepal have reported that their citizens have been subject to exploitation in Malta’s labor market. The current system for the care of young unaccompanied migrants remains inadequate. Current arrangements fail to ensure the appointment of legal guardians with sufficient experience in asylum issues. There is also a need to build capacities within local communities to prevent migrants from becoming ghettoized. The issue of citizenship for the children of asylum-seekers born in Malta also needs to be urgently reassessed; currently, these children have no right to citizenship. Statistics indicate that there are currently about 6,600 foreign students in the country’s primary and secondary schools, making up about 10% of the school population; this too may contribute to integration challenges in the future. Indeed, a study of this cohort found that a third of these students have been bullied at school

Citations:
https://www.unhcr.org/mt/wp-content/uploads/sites/54/2019/10/Malta-Factsheet_OCTOBER.pdf
https://www.gov.mt/en/Government/Government%20of%20Malta/Ministries%20and%20Entities/Pages/Ministries%202017/MEAER-Portfolio.aspx
https://integration.gov.mt/en/ibelong/Pages/IBelongProgramme.aspx
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
Malta Today 19/11/2018 Children make up 17% of Malta’s population
Times of Malta 28/05/19 Low Awareness of Human Rights
Times of Malta 20/06/19 They don’t let me play at school because I am Syrian
TVM 19/11/19 Foreign Children in Malta where are they from?
Timesofmalta 22/06/19 Betrayed expectations of migrants relocated
Times of Malta 25/07/19 Hal Far Open Center to be extended
Times of Malta 25/08/19 community spirit in full swing as new center puts migrants on path to job
Times of Malta 04/01/20 1400 migrants detained illegally at Marsa and Safi UNHCR

Safe Living

#28

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. However, crime rates have spiked somewhat, and in 2017, Malta had the fourth-highest homicide rate in the EU. Fraud cases have also increased drastically. Conflicts between criminal organizations involved in drug-trafficking and money laundering also occur from time to time. The car bombing of a well-known Maltese journalist in 2017 garnered intense international attention; however, the identification of the alleged mastermind behind the murder in 2019 has raised the profile of the police force somewhat.

The state faces few external security threats, 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 2019 report on crime and safety in Malta, the U.S. Department of State’s Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC) placed Malta only at Level 1, meaning that it is a country where no more than normal precautions need to be exercised. This is particularly significant given Malta’s geographic location and open borders with other Schengen-area members. Numbeo recently ranked Malta 44th worldwide on its Safety Index, based on data compiled in mid-2019.

Malta is affiliated with Interpol, and is 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. As Malta is tasked with ensuring 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.

Malta’s Secret Service is small, and depends heavily on intelligence from foreign intelligence services. The country has the second-highest number of police per 100,000 inhabitants in the EU. Four police commissioners have resigned over a five-year period; in 2020, one of the first moves of the new prime minister was the removal of the current police commissioner. Changes to the process of selecting the head of police, with the goal of enhancing oversight, are in the pipeline. A 2016 report found that the police force lacks direction. A policy revision that no longer requires police officers to have demonstrated clean conduct for the purposes of rehiring and promotion was not received well. According to the EU Barometer 2019, trust in the army has risen somewhat to 67%, while confidence in the Maltese police force has fallen minimally to 65%. Parliamentary figures indicate that 103 officers were assaulted during 2019. A total of 24 murders have remained unsolved since 2008. Institutional capacity to deal with organized crime has not kept pace with the rapid change in Malta’s economic and social structures, although the police did score some notable successes in 2019. A Police Governance Board was appointed in 2019, and is seeking to address these evolving challenges with an EU grant. A 2019 assessment by the U.S. State Department acknowledged the progress that Malta had made in the area of human trafficking, but highlighted the fact that the conviction rate in this area remains low.

Meanwhile, the annual World Risk Report found Malta to be the second-safest country in the world when it comes to natural disasters.

Citations:
Times of Malta 22/02/2019 Significant increase in cases of fraud as crime rate drops
The Malta Independent 16/10/2017 Updated: Daphne Caruana Galizia killed as vehicle blows up in Bidnija; bomb not in cabin – expert
https://www.numbeo.com/crime/rankings_by_country.jsp
https://www.osac.gov/Country/Malta/Content/Detail/Report/d6da0d8b-ce89-4716-965c-15f4aeb4812d
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
Malta Today 21/05/2018 Trust in the Police needs to be rebuilt
Lovin Malta 09/10/2019 The Malta Independent 07/08/2016 Police force ‘lacks direction’, full skills-audit recommended
Lovin Malta 11/04/2019 70 Murder Victims Since 2008: Just 7 People Have Been Found Guilty Of Homicide In Malta In The Last 10 Years
Malta Today 21/06/2019 Malta made significant efforts to fight human trafficking but convictions remain low, U.S. report finds
The Malta Independent 13/09/2019 World Risk Report ranks Malta as the world’s second-safest country for natural disasters again
Times of Malta 24/01/20 Tenacity to implement change

Global Inequalities

#27

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
5
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. 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). Moreover, a European Commission press release stated that in 2018, Malta was one of four member states that increased its ratio of official development assistance to GNI by more than 0.01 percentage points.

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 Europe’s seventh-highest asylum-application approval rate. Malta will also provide its support for the UN Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration. 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. Projects implemented by Maltese non-governmental development organizations (NGDOs) also contribute significantly to development projects in other countries. The state also provides an increasing number of scholarships to young people from less developed states, and responds to requests to assist countries, notably in the Balkans, with capacity-building programs.

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 was opened 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 throughout the Commonwealth by making available its acquired experience and expertise as a developed small island country. For example, a new Commonwealth center of excellence for small states will be set up in Malta. In general, Malta follows the lead of the European Union, with its policies on tariffs 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’s rights. In June 2019, Malta additionally hosted the Summit of the Southern EU Countries with the aim of exploring issues of common interest in the Mediterranean region. In 2015, Malta became a signatory to Agenda 2030, which seeks to transform the world through sustainable development.

Citations:
2019, Malta hosted the Summit of the Southern EU Countries with the aim of exploring issues of common interest in the Mediterranean region.
Official Development Assistance Policy and a Framework for Humanitarian Assistance- Implementation Plan 2018
European Commission Press Release Europe remains the world’s biggest development donor – €74.4 billion in 2018
Malta Today 25/04/2019 Malta with seventh highest number of approved asylum applications in EU compared to population in 2018
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-af rica_en
Newsbook 16/10/2018 Malta to be one of largest donors to Africa’s Emergency Trust Fund
Malta Today 18/10/2019 Malta appoints its first ambassador to 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/cust om-114-aa1de6ec6d75469b9be8f952bfedd9a6.aspx
Malta Independent 12/06/2019 Summit of the Southern EU Countries being held in Malta on Friday
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