Social Policies in Malta

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The country case studies and thematic papers in this series examine social policy issues facing small states and the implications for economic development. They show how, despite their inherent vulnerability, some small states have been successful in improving their social indicators because of the complementary social and economic policies they have implemented.


Malta is a highincome developed small state, with an impressive level of economic growth and a multitude of social services, which have helped to provide free health and education to all its citizens and benefits to lowincome earners. However, various national and global factors are now threatening the sustainability of this extensive social security model. This paper examines the economic, political and social development of the island, particularly since independence, highlighting the successes and failures of the social development strategies adopted and suggesting how these lessons can inform future policy decisions.




Malta’s role as a strategic hub in the Mediterranean was by and large the cause of its success during its colourful history under foreign dominion. Its independent life over four decades, with sometimes a resemblance to a roller-coaster ride with quick changes in policy and strategies, must also be viewed as something of a miracle. Sedate growth at certain periods of its young life and spectacular progress at others have put Malta in the high-income group of developed countries. Changes in government and ideology have all impacted on the road to development followed by this small island state.


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