The European Commission’s Eurobarometer survey conducted between June and July this year confirms that despite the ongoing pandemic there is still a strong level of optimism and confidence among the Maltese.
For one thing, 46% of those interviewed said they believe things in our country are going in the right direction, in contrast to the average rate of 39% across EU countries. More importantly, if one were to look at this ratio in Malta back in November 2012, one finds that the proportion of those currently satisfied with the direction of our country is one and a half times that observed at the end of 2012.
In fact, the latest Eurobarometer shows that two thirds of Maltese and Gozitans believe that the economic situation in our country is good, as against just 40% of people interviewed across the EU. The degree of economic optimism in our country is almost the same as that found in the first months after the change of government in 2013. Like then, many seem to be feeling we are at the cusp of another great period of progress.
The reality inhabited by Opposition spokespersons and by households interviewed for the Eurobarometer are completely dissonant. While the Opposition speaks of most households not being able to make ends meet, 85% of households said that they are in a good financial situation. While the Opposition warns about closing firms and fleeing financial services firms, 65% of Maltese Eurobarometer respondents believe the employment sector is doing well. In addition, 38% of those interviewed said they expect our country’s economic situation to improve in the coming year, with only 3% believing that we will never recover from the pandemic. This is the best result across the EU.
Two thirds of Maltese and Gozitans believe that the economic situation in our country is good, as against 40% of people interviewed across the EU.
While in 2012 there were a third of households worried about the economy, this proportion has now fallen below 10% despite our country still being in a pandemic that has decimated tourism arrivals. While in 2012, almost a quarter of those interviewed were worried about the national debt, this proportion has now fallen to 4%.
Opposition spokespersons may argue about unsustainable finances. Maltese and Gozitan families seem nonplussed. While in the EU, more than a fifth of families are worried about unemployment, in our country one in twenty-five are so inclined.
The Eurobarometer results also confirm that even the Opposition’s campaign to undermine trust in institutions is failing. Institutions are enjoying a good level of trust, especially health authorities, public administration, and compared to the previous Eurobarometer there has been increased confidence in the police and in the judicial system.
The survey also indicates that 46% of people trust the Maltese Government, versus a national government trust level of just 37% in the rest of the EU. Before the change of administration in 2013, the population’s trust in the Maltese Government had reached only 34%. By contrast, 69% of Maltese and Gozitans said they are happy with the government’s measures to combat the pandemic, an increase of 16% from the previous survey. This compares very well with the EU average of 53%, where the increase between surveys was only 10%.
On the other hand, a quarter of the Maltese and Gozitans who were interviewed said they trusted the media. This is the lowest proportion across the EU and is just a third of the trust that exists in the media in Finland, the country where there is the highest level of trust in the media across the EU.