Malta Country Report
The Republic of Malta comprises an archipelago of seven islands south of Sicily, with a population of some 400,000. A member of the EU and Commonwealth, the country's judicial system is generally considered efficient. Crime risks are low. There are occasional instances of violence between locals and immigrants, and of strike action by unionised workers. Malta joined the eurozone in 2008. The economy mainly depends on tourism, trade,manufacturing, and financial services. According to the European Commission, Malta's economy will grow at the fastest rate in the EU in 2018, at 5.6%. Following re-election in a June 2017 snap election, the Labour government has an absolute majority and will be able to implement its budget without hindrance.
One of the government's main policy priorities is likely to be a much-needed revamp of the country's transport infrastructure, including upgrades to roads, tunnels, and bridges. An undersea tunnel to the island of Gozo is also being planned. Malta has an efficient labour force with a large English-speaking contingent. Labour costs are still relatively low compared with other EU member states. A relatively inefficient bureaucracy – and to a lesser extent corruption – continue to pose operational obstacles to foreign and domestic investment. The Maltese have frequently opposed market liberalisation programmes introduced by the government, with trade unions staging protests against privatisation efforts.
Malta’s outlying nature and proximity to Islamic State elements in Libya makes it a likely transit destination for militants crossing the Mediterranean to reach mainland Europe. The consolidation of the Islamic State in Libya also raises the threat of attacks on maritime targets in Malta’s vicinity, such as cruise liners. Yet terrorism risks on the island itself remain very low. The suicide bomb attack at the Maltese-Libyan-owned Corinthia Hotel in Tripoli, in January 2015, was not directed at Malta in terms of target choice.
The main risk involves search and seizure of vessels by the navy while it conducts counter-narcotic and counter-terrorism operations; a maritime territorial dispute exists with Libya, especially over oil claims, but is highly unlikely to turn violent, especially given the current domestic instability in Libya.
Malta's unionised labour force occasionally initiates large strike action, often in response to the government's privatisation efforts. Strikes are almost always short-lived, lasting no more than one day, and carry only low risks of property damage. Strike action is further mitigated by the cautious approach to privatisation adopted by the current government, ruling out privatisations in strategic sectors such as energy.
Vaccinations required to enter the country
Proof of vaccination against yellow fever is required if traveling from a country with risk of yellow fever (YFV) transmission and over nine months of age. If indicated on epidemiologic grounds, infants under nine months of age are subject to isolation or surveillance if coming from an area with risk of YFV transmission. No certificate of yellow fever vaccination is required for travelers having transited through an airport located in a country with risk of YFV transmission.
Hepatitis A: A vaccine is available for anyone over one year of age. The vaccine may not be effective for certain people, e.g. those born before 1945 and who lived as a child in a developing country and/or have a past history of jaundice (icterus). These people can instead get a shot of immune globulin (IG) to boost their immunity against the disease.
Hepatitis B: A vaccine is available for children at least two months old.
Diphtheria-Tetanus-Polio: A booster shot should be administered if necessary (once every ten years).
Typhoid Fever: If your travels take you to regions with poor sanitary conditions (for children two years old and up).
For Children: All standard childhood immunizations should be up-to-date. In the case of a long stay, the BCG vaccine is recommended for children over one month and the MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) vaccine for children over nine months.
Malta has a Mediterranean climate, with hot and dry summers tempered by ocean breezes. Winters are mild and sunny. Temperatures can reach up to 40°C in July and August and usually hover around 15°C in the winter months. The country experiences a relatively rainy season between November and February, but annual levels of precipitation are generally low.
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