Malta. According to
Countryaah.com, President Ugu Mifsud Bonnici disbanded the
parliament in September, announcing new elections until
October 26 due to a request from the ruling Nationalist
Party. Prime Minister Edward Fenech-Adami wanted new
elections to accelerate EU membership; The Nationalist Party
was for an entry while the opposition, the Labor Party
(Malta Labor Party, MLP), was opposed. However, Alfred Sant
and the Labor Party won the election with 50.72% of the vote
compared to 47.7% for the Nationalist Party, a margin of
about 7,600 votes. The victory was surprising as
unemployment was low 3% and economic growth 9% in 1995. The
new government withdrew in 1990 the application for
membership in the EU.
The pope visited Malta in May 2001, and 200,000 Maltese -
half the population - followed the salvation of 3 Catholics
- 2 monks and 1 nun. The ceremony was conducted outdoors and
was the end of the Pope's visit to the country. had
completed a pilgrimage in the footsteps of the apostle Paul.
The issue of inclusion in the EU was hotly debated and
resolved by a referendum on March 8, 2003. Here, 53.6% voted
for inclusion and the country was admitted into the EU on
May 1, 2004. The admission negotiations decided that Malta
should receive DKK 272 million. Euro from the EU in the
period 2004-06 and will contribute DKK 178 million. The
economic advantage for Malta was one of the main arguments
in the referendum.
In the first 10 months of 2005, the country received 1500
applications for asylum from Africans. The number was not
insignificant for a country with only 400,000 residents, and
it therefore asked for help from other European countries.
The immigrants led to the formation of an extremely
right-wing party, the Republican National Alliance, which
conducted the first demonstration in the country's history
against immigration. Acc. European legislation requires
immigrants to seek asylum in the first country they come to,
but most of the immigrants - Somalis, Liberians, Sudanese
and others - accidentally landed on the island of Malta
while trying to reach the continent. Most immigrants felt
they had fallen into a trap between Europe and Africa and
most just wanted to move on.
In July 2007, the EU decided that Malta and Cyprus met the
conditions for the introduction of the Euro as the currency
with effect from 1 January 2008. The criteria were: control
over inflation, interest rates, government debt and monetary
On January 1, 2008, Malta was admitted to the Eurozone
and the pound was replaced by €.
In the March 2008 parliamentary elections, the ruling
Nationalist Party fell 2½% to 49.3% of the vote and won only
narrowly over the Labor party, which gained 48.8%. Prime
Minister Gonzi could thus continue on the post.
George Abela became the country's new president in April
2009 after a government recommendation. It was the first
time in the country's history that a government recommended
a member of the opposition to this post.
Malta has a very restrictive policy towards refugees and
was criticized several times in 2009 by human rights
organizations for not allowing boat refugees to be picked up
by ships in international custody to reach Malta.
The global economic crisis hit Malta less severely than
the rest of the EU. However, GDP fell by 4% in 2009.
Unemployment rose slightly from 6.7% in March 2009 to 6.9%
in March 2010, while youth unemployment reached 14.8%.