This year, the European Commission limited the number of its annual recommendations to our country – the country specific recommendations – to only four, the same amount as the previous year. By contrast, before the change of administration in 2013, the Commission had made six country specific recommendations for our country.
There were only seven countries that received one recommendation less than Malta, while there were two countries that received six, two more than our country.
Moreover, three out of the four recommendations given to our country are the same as those given to every other country.
The first recommendation is for Malta to continue to take the necessary measures to help families and businesses affected by international price increases. This while the Commission urged the Government to continue to invest more towards the digital and environmental transformation.
In their analysis, the Commission’s experts note that the Government’s fiscal plan is in line with their recommendations and that Government is supporting the economy positively. So much so that they note that it will be possible for Government to start reducing support and lowering our country’s deficit, while the national debt remains below 60%. This is a clear proof of the correct rationale with which public finances are being managed.
The second recommendation, which is also common to that given to all other countries, is for our country to continue to implement the recovery and resilience plan. It is worth recalling how the Leader of the Opposition called Malta’s plan a mess (froġa). Instead, the Commission’s report contains nothing but words of praise for Malta’s plan.
The third recommendation, which is specific to Malta and some other countries which are substantial financial services centres, covers the taxation system. This is in the light of reforms taking place internationally. The report notes that the Maltese Government has already taken some steps in this regard.
The last recommendation, which is common to all countries, is on the environmental transformation. Malta is encouraged to further increase the use of renewable energy and emissions of the transport system. This while the Commission’s report notes the extent to which the recovery and resilience plan presented by the Government has a strong allocation in favour of the environmental transformation. The report also mentions the importance of Government’s plans to develop offshore renewable energy facilities.
Last year Malta was given a recommendation to continue to strengthen institutions and governance. It is also worth noting that in 2019 our country was given a recommendation that explicitly mentioned fighting corruption as well as the need to strengthen the way members of the judiciary are appointed.
The absence of such recommendations in 2022 is proof of the extent to which the reforms undertaken by this administration are being welcomed by the EU and other international institutions. So much so that the Commission’s report notes that “good governance is one of the pillars of the government’s long-term economic vision” and praises the measures in this regard in the recovery and resilience plan.