PRESS RELEASE BY THE MINISTRY FOR FINANCE: Malta’s outstanding economic performance in recent years recognised by the 2018 Country Report

Reference Number: PR180500, Press Release Issue Date: Mar 08, 2018

The Ministry for Finance welcomes the 2018 Country Report on Malta published by the European Commission, which states that “Malta’s economic performance has been outstanding in recent years.”

Indeed, the report acknowledges that growth has remained dynamic and has been job-rich, with prospects looking favourable and the fiscal outlook remaining positive. 

Malta’s labour market conditions continue to be favourable, with unemployment dropping to record-low levels. Youth unemployment also remains much lower than the EU average, whilst employment growth remains robust both for women and men. The report also highlights that Malta’s income inequalities are relatively stable and below the EU average.

The report recognises that the current account continues to show a marked surplus while remarking that the balance of Malta’s net international investment position is one of the highest in the EU after the Netherlands.

The European Commission further notes that the Government has responded with several measures to improve human capital development, partly through a reduction in early school leavers. The Government has also improved skills governance and participation in adult learning.

The report acknowledges that public finances have improved and Malta’s medium-term objective was achieved three years ahead of schedule. Even though Malta had one of the highest growth rates in public expenditure in the EU over the last three years, the level of public expenditure per capita in Malta is below the EU average.

Investment represented by gross fixed capital formation was close to the EU28 average in 2016.

The report also outlines that the Maltese SME sector has thrived in recent years—in recent years, the employment level and value added by SMEs increased significantly when compared to SMEs in the EU.

Minister for Finance Edward Scicluna comments: “I am pleased to note that the Commission acknowledges the success of Government’s policies in consolidating public finances, attaining robust and sustainable economic growth rates, achieving a positive external balance, and enhancing the quantity and quality of labour.”

The report further notes that the 2018 Budget has introduced measures to fight tax evasion and address money laundering by transposing the Anti-Money Laundering Directive together with an effective legal framework.