Demography and economic geography. – Southern European island state. The population (430,146 residents, According to an estimate by UNDESA, United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, of 2014), 93% urban, is made up of Maltese and some minorities, including the British. Population growth is fairly stable (0.3% per year from 2005 to 2015), with a birth rate of 9.5 ‰ (2013) and a death rate of 7.9 ‰ (2013). The capital, Valletta (6966 residents In 2011), is part of an urban-port conurbation of over 200,000 residents. Malta’s economy is characterized by a downsizing of the agricultural sector, a strengthening of the industrial apparatus and the development of service activities. Maltese economic policy aims to attract foreign investments in the industrial sector, guaranteeing infrastructures and services to businesses, availability of manpower and facilitations supported by a very light tax system, which has transformed the archipelago into a hub recognized and respected financial institution.
Agriculture, often in greenhouses and irrigated, occupies only 3.3% (2012) of the active population and contributes 1.9% to the formation of the GDP. The secondary sector (19.1% of assets and 20.3% of GDP) mainly includes manufacturing activities (food, textiles, clothing, mechanics, plastics and wood processing), recording growth in the electronic, IT and pharmaceutical sectors., shipbuilding and precision instruments. The real economic strength of the country, however, consists in tourism, which has provided income in currencies that has been steadily growing since the 1970s: in 2011, admissions were 1,412,000 and revenues amounted to 1,480 billion dollars. For Malta economics and business, please check businesscarriers.com.
History. – At the turn of the first decade of the 21st century, Maltese politics continued to be conditioned by the geographical position of the island and, above all, by the immigration flows to which it exposed it. To deal with them, especially following the Libyan crisis of 2011, which massively increased the influx of migrants, Malta asked for collaboration from the European Union, within which she had been repeatedly criticized for the refoulement of political refugees and asylum seekers.
A natural bridge between the two shores of the Mediterranean, the political system of the island was historically polarized on the theme of international alignment: the European and Westernist Partit Nazzjonalista (PN), close to the Catholic Church, was opposed by the anti-European Partit Labor (PL), linked to the countries of the southern shore of the Mediterranean. Between 2007 and 2008, during the first government of the nationalist Lawrence Gonzi (2004-08), Malta joined and entered the Schengen area, adopted the euro and ratified the Lisbon Treaty.
In the 2008 political elections, the PN far prevailed (49.3% of the votes and 35 seats) over the PL (48.8% of the votes and 34 seats): Gonzi was confirmed prime minister, with the plan to privatize the shipyards and other Maltese public enterprises and to reduce income taxes. In 2009, Labor George Abela, belonging to the opposition party, was appointed president of the Republic.
Faced with rising unemployment and the cost of living, the consensus of the PN began to decline and, in the 2013 general elections, it was defeated by the PL (54.8% of the votes and 39 seats), whose leader Joseph Muscat was appointed prime minister. On April 4, 2014, Labor Marie Louise Coleiro Preca became President of the Republic.
In terms of civil rights, despite the strong Catholic influence in the country, divorce was approved (a binding consultative referendum, in May 2011, saw 53.2% of votes in favor, despite Gonzi’s opposition) and civil unions – equivalent to marriage – between persons of the same sex (April 2014). However, abortion remained illegal.