The Ministry for Finance welcomes the 2017 Country Report on
Malta, published by the European Commission.
The report is a comprehensive and in-depth review which not only
takes into account the economic performance in Malta, but also the
progress made by reforms undertaken so as to strengthen the
The report acknowledges the impressive levels of Malta's
economic growth and more importantly recognises that "poverty
and social exclusion risks are declining."
Indeed, the European Commission expects that over the coming
years, average potential economic growth will exceed pre-crisis
performance backed by increased productivity and investment.
However, higher growth will not come at the expense of growing
inequalities. In fact, the report states that income
inequality remains stable and below the EU average, concluding,
"...overall the system shows high coverage and adequacy of
benefits and recent reforms are likely to further improve
Furthermore, the Commission recognises that the overall risk of
poverty and social exclusion decreased in 2015 and expects the 2017
social Budget measures will continue to reduce it further.
On employment, the report noted that positive developments in
the labour market in particular the strong employment growth
reflected: "the creation of jobs, the take-up of economic
opportunities by the growing working age population....and the
rising labour force participation." The latter mainly
referring to the increase in the female participation rate.
The European Commission comments positively on external trade.
It acknowledges Malta's current account surplus and attributes
the improving external balance to structural factors including the
increasing importance of export-oriented and less capital-intensive
services as well as the implementation of energy and transport
reforms aimed at further lowering the energy intensity of the
economy freeing up resources for investment.
It acknowledges that in recent years, the fiscal balance has
improved while the debt-to-GDP ratio has been on a downward trend
as a result of strengthened primary balances and GDP growth.
The European Commission further notes that the Government has
responded with several measures to, improve pension adequacy and
sustainability, increase effectiveness of the healthcare system, as
well as address growing labour shortages.
Minister for Finance, Prof Edward Scicluna commented that,
"the European Commission found that the Maltese Government is
not only creating wealth, but through its budgets, is succeeding in
distributing wealth as well, thus fostering an inclusive society. I
was also pleased to note that private debts are decreasing too. The
ratio of domestic and commercial loans have fallen drastically to
130 percent of GDP from over 170 percent of GDP in 2009."
Source: PRESS RELEASE ISSUED BY THE MINISTRY FOR
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