LEGAL AND POLITICAL
What is Malta's political status?
- Malta, officially the Republic of Malta, is a parliamentary republic.
- Malta gained its independence from Great Britain on 21st September 1964 and was declared a republic on 13th December 1974; however, Malta remains with the Commonwealth of Nations (British Commonwealth).
- Malta became a member of the European Union (EU) on 1st May 2004 and of the Euro Area on 1st January 2008.
The Commonwealth 2016. http://thecommonwealth.org/our-member-countries/malta/constitution-politics
How democratic is Malta?
- Malta ranked 15th in the Democracy Index 2015, ahead of the United Kingdom (16th) and the United States of America (20th).
- Malta is a democratic republic with a ‘parliamentary representative’ system. The President is the Head of the State; executive powers rest with the Prime Minister (Head of the Government) and the Cabinet. The Prime Minister is the leader of the party with an electoral majority. A unicameral Parliament of 65 representatives is elected every five years.
- The political structure in Malta is supported by a multi-party system, but national and local elections are effectively bi-party elections. The main political parties are Partit Laburista (the centre-left Labour Party), which is currently in Government, Partit Nazzjonalista (the Christian Democratic, centre-right Nationalist Party, and the main opposition party), and the significantly smaller Alternattiva Demokratika (the green party).
- In the 2013 General Election, Partit Laburista obtained 54.83% of the vote; Partit Nazzjonalista obtained 43.34% of the vote. Alternattiva Demokratika did not have any candidates elected to Parliament.
- There are three election forums in Malta: general (Maltese Parliamentary) elections, EU Parliament elections, and local (Local Council) elections. All Maltese citizens aged 18 years and over have the right to vote.
- Voter turnout in Malta has traditionally been significantly high, despite the fact that voting isn’t compulsory in Malta. Since 1971, voter turnout in the general elections has exceeded 90%; in the 2013 general election, the voter turnout was 92.5%. In the 2014 European Parliament Elections, the voter turnout was 74.8%.
The European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies and WHO 2014. http://www.euro.who.int/__data/assets/pdf_file/0010/241849/HiT-Malta.pdf?ua=1
Democracy Index 2014. http://www.yabiladi.com/img/content/EIU-Democracy-Index-2015.pdf
Is Malta politically stable?
- Malta is political stable. The World Bank Political Stability Index ranks countries from -2.5 (weak political stability) to 2.5 (strong political stability. Covering the period 1996 to 2014, the average value for Malta was 1.27, with a minumum of 1.01 in 2013 and a maximum of 1.54 in 2003.
- In the most recent Eurobarometer public opinion survey (Spring 2015), 51% of the Maltese said that they had trust in regional and local public authorities; in the same survey, only 27% said they trusted the political parties. In the same survey, 71% of the Maltese said that they are satisfied with the way democracy works in their country.
Cap Stone Group 2015. http://capstonegroup.com.mt/jurisdiction/about-malta/
The Global Economy 2015. http://www.theglobaleconomy.com/Malta/wb_political_stability/
Europa Eurobarometer. http://ec.europa.eu/public_opinion/archives/eb/eb83/eb83_publ_en.pdf
How much tax do the Maltese pay?
Value Added Tax
- The standard Value Added Tax (VAT) rate in Malta applicable to the purchase of most goods and services is currently 18%.
- In Malta, taxable persons are considered to be those carrying on an economic activity, whatever the purpose or the result of that activity. Medical doctors, insurance companies, and those operating below the established threshold for small undertakings, are also considered as taxable persons, but they are not obliged to charge and collect VAT.
- The current tax rates for an individual in Malta are in the range of 0% - 35%. The taxation of an individual's income increases with progressive income brackets; the higher the income, the higher the tax rate.
- Corporate tax is currently fixed at 35%. There are reduced rates or complete exemptions for companies with low earnings.
- Residents pay tax on income whether they are wage earners or self-employed. A person who meets the criteria to be considered a ‘permanent resident’ (usually resident for more than 183 days a year) will be taxed on his / her income in Malta and overseas. A foreign resident who is employed in Malta pays tax only on the income he earns in Malta.
EURES - Incomes and taxation - European Commission. (n.d.). Retrieved May 30, 2016, from https://ec.europa.eu/eures/main.jsp?catId=8676&acro=living&lang=en&parentId=7821&countryId=MT&living
How large is government debt?
- In 2015, general government gross debt in Malta was 5,620.7 million euro; general government gross debt as a percentage of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was 63.9%. The European Union (EU-28) general government gross debt as a percentage of GDP was 85.2%
- In 2015, Malta was among 11 EU Member States that had a government gross debt (as a % of GDP) lower than 70%. Estonia had the lowest government gross debt as a percentage of GDP (9.7%); Greece had the highest government gross debt as a percentage of GDP (176.9%).
Your key to European statistics. (n.d.). Retrieved May 29, 2016 from http://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/tgm/refreshTableAction.do?tab=table&plugin=1&pcode=tsdde410&language=en
How large is Maltese Marine and Air Territory?
- Maltese territorial waters extend to 12 nautical miles, covering an area of approximately 3,805 m2. Malta’s Contiguous Zone includes the territorial waters and extends up to 24 nautical miles. In the Contiguous Zone, Malta has the jurisdiction to prevent any contravention of any law relating to customs, fiscal matters, immigration and sanitation, including pollution.
- Malta’s Exclusive Fishing Zone extends to 25 nautical miles.
- Maltese airspace extends over Malta to include the territorial waters and the Contiguous Zone.
Europa, Case Study report: The area surrounding Malta, 05/01/2011, at http://ec.europa.eu/maritimeaffairs/documentation/studies/documents/case_study_area_surrounding_malta_en.pdf
What is the legal system in Malta?
- The Maltese legal system is what is known as a mixed legal system, influenced both by Roman law and the Napoleonic Codes (particularly civil law) and English Common Law (evident in certain areas of criminal law and procedure).
- The judicial system is two-tier, comprising a Court of First Instance and the Court of Appeal. The former is presided over by a judge or magistrate. When an appeal comes from a Court presided over by a Judge, the Court of Appeal is presided over by three judges. A single judge presides over the Court of Appeal when the appeal comes from a Court presided over by a magistrate.
- There are also a range of Tribunals for specialised areas, with varying degrees of competence. Almost all of these tribunals provide for appeals to a Court on points of law. The Constitutional Court is the appellate Court in matters relating to the Constitution.
- In 1987 Malta adopted the European Convention on Human Rights as part of its law. Since then, Maltese citizens have had the right of access to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.
- Judges and magistrates are appointed by the President of Malta and are constitutionally independent of the executive.
Government of Malta. http://mjcl.gov.mt/en/justice/Pages/The-Judiciary-in-Malta.aspx
The Judiciary Malta. http://www.judiciarymalta.gov.mt/the-judiciary
How European do the Maltese feel?
- The Maltese Islands are located between the European mainland and the continent of Africa; however, the Maltese have historically aligned themselves with Europe.
- In March 2010, 61% of Maltese felt that being European mattered to them personally. This was a higher proportion than the EU_28 average (58%).
- In a Eurobarometer public opinion survey in November 2014, 55% of the Maltese said they felt at least fairly attached to the European Union; 18% replied that they felt very attached to the EU.
- In the most recent Eurobarometer survey (Spring 2015), 65% of the Maltese agreed that Malta faces a better future by remaining within the European Union (EU).
Europa Eurobarometer. http://ec.europa.eu/public_opinion/archives/eb/eb83/eb83_publ_en.pdf
Eurobarometer New Europeans Report, March 2011 (n.d.). Retrieved June 2, 2016, from
How much crime is there in Malta?
- Malta is comparatively safer than many European countries, and the crime rate is low in terms of violent crime.
- There was a ‘slight increase’ in crime reports over 2015 compared with 2014, defined as an absolute increase of 490 crimes. These crimes were almost entirely related to what is described as ‘pick-pocketing’. In most other categories of theft there was a decrease in crimes reported.
- Other crimes which are on the increase in Malta include threats and public violence (28% increase from 2014), computer-related crime (27% increase), sexual offences (22% increase), domestic violence (7% increase), and fraud (6% increase).
- Crimes that decreased between 2014 and 2015 included theft from residences (down 24%), drug-related crime (down 21%), and bodily harm (down 7%).
Crime Malta Annual Crime Review 2015 http://crimemalta.com/documents/CrimeMalta_Annual_Report_SF_2015.pdf