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Malta comprises an archipelago of five islands in the Central Mediterranean Sea, south of the Italian island of Sicily, east of Tunisia and north of Libya. Malta is one of the world's smallest and most densely populated countries.
The most important sectors of Malta’s economy in 2012 were wholesale and retail trade, transport, accommodation and food services (21.1 %), public administration, defence, education, human health and social work activities (19.4 %) and industry (13.0 %).
Malta’s main export partners are Germany, Hong Kong and France, while its main import partners are Italy, the UK and France.
Geographical size: 316 km2
Population: 417 546 (2012)
Population as % of total EU population: 0.1 % (2012)
GDP: € 6.88 billion (2012)
Official EU language(s): Maltese, English
Political system: parliamentary republic
EU member country since: 1 May 2004
Seats in the European Parliament: 6
Currency: Eurozone member since 1 January 2008
Passport-free travel? Yes, Schengen Area member since 1 May 2004
Presidency of the Council: Malta will hold the revolving presidency of the Council of the EU for the first time in 2017.
In the Council of the EU, national ministers meet regularly to adopt EU laws and coordinate policies. Council meetings are regularly attended by representatives from the Maltese government, depending on the policy area being addressed.
The Council of the EU doesn't have a permanent, single-person president (like e.g. the Commission or Parliament). Instead, its work is led by the country holding the Council presidency, which rotates every 6 months.
During these 6 months, ministers from that country's government chair and help determine the agenda of Council meetings in each policy area, and facilitate dialogue with the other EU institutions.
Dates of Maltese presidencies:
More on the current presidency of the Council of the EU.
The Commission is represented in each EU country by a local office, called a "representation".
Malta has 5 representatives on the European Economic and Social Committee. This advisory body – representing employers, workers and other interest groups – is consulted on proposed laws, to get a better idea of the possible changes to work and social situations in member countries.
Malta has 5 representatives on the Committee of the Regions, the EU's assembly of regional and local representatives. This advisory body is consulted on proposed laws, to ensure these laws take account of the perspective from each region of the EU.
Malta also communicates with the EU institutions through its permanent representation in Brussels. As Malta's "embassy to the EU", its main task is to ensure that the country's interests and policies are pursued as effectively as possible in the EU.
Member countries' financial contributions to the EU budget are shared fairly, according to means. The larger your country's economy, the more it pays – and vice versa. The EU budget doesn't aim to redistribute wealth, but rather to focus on the needs of all Europeans as a whole.
Breakdown of Malta's finances with the EU in 2012:
More figures on the EU budget, revenue and spending:
The money paid into the EU budget by Malta helps fund programmes and projects in all EU countries - like building roads, subsidising researchers and protecting the environment.
Find out more about how Malta benefits from EU funding.