Only four

For a second year in a row, Malta has received only 4 country-specific recommendations from the European Commission.

Malta continues to perform well in the European Union, receiving just four annual country-specific recommendations for the second year running. This is a significant improvement from before 2013, when Malta received six recommendations. Only seven EU countries have received fewer recommendations than Malta.

Country-specific recommendations provide guidance to EU Member States on macro-economic, budgetary and structural policies in accordance with Articles 121 and 148 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU. Issued annually since 2011, these recommendations guide EU countries on economic reforms to promote growth, jobs, healthy public finances, and balanced economies.

The first recommendation is for Malta to stop the support measures to keep energy prices low. This is a recommendation also made to Portugal, the only country in Europe that, like Malta, still helps families and businesses in this regard. At the same time the Commission urged the Maltese government to limit expenditure growth while continuing to invest in favour of the digital and environmental transitions. In their analysis, the Commission’s experts note that the Government’s fiscal plan appears to be in line with their recommendations.
An analysis of the country specific recommendations of other Member States shows that the decrease in the deficits of many countries was due to the removal of support to families and businesses in relation to the price of energy. In contrast, in Malta better fiscal performance was due to the country’s positive economic performance.

The second recommendation, which is common to all countries, is to continue to implement the national Recovery and Resilience Plan; the Commission’s report praises Malta’s plan considerably.

The third recommendation is to strengthen investment in education, such as through better training for educators.

The fourth and last recommendation, which is common to all countries, is on the environmental transition. Malta is encouraged to further increase the use of renewable energy as well as reduce the emissions of the transport system. The Commission’s report points out the extent to which the Recovery and Resilience Plan presented by the Maltese government has a strong allocation towards the green transition.

It is worth noting that, in contrast to the years prior to 2021, Malta was not given a recommendation on strengthening institutions and governance. This shows the extent to which the reforms undertaken by the Maltese administration since Robert Abela became Prime Minister are being welcomed by the European Commission. In contrast, this year the Commission recommended Cyprus to strengthen the governance of its public entities, and pointed out that certain actions of the Hungarian government are not in line with the rule of law.

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