In a frank, extensive assessment of Malta’s social and economic activity, the European Commission has placed the country’s ageing population and low skills as the major challenges to continued growth on the longer term.
In its Country Report for 2020, Brussels highlighted the achievements of Malta’s fast economic growths, which has resulted in sustained job creation and investment. However, it remarked that demographic and economic growth are expected to put further pressure on Malta’s infrastructure and natural resources. In this context, the Commission appeals for the strengthen of long-term resilience through innovation; an improvement in infrastructure quality and investment in further efforts towards a climate-neutral and environmentally sustainable economy.
While the report notes the economic achievement of the past years, it does highlight a number of worrying trends related to poor educational outcomes, including persistently high student underachievement and early school leaving, which make it difficult to meet the need for skilled labour.
The Commission would also like to see additional effort by the authorities when it comes to environmental and health issues, noting that Malta’s efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions, promote sustainable mobility and increase energy efficiency do not seem to match the scale of the challenges it faces. With current policies, the EU insists, emissions are projected to continue increasing, putting Malta far off track in relation to its 2020 and 2030 targets.
Going forward, the European Commission notes that investing in innovation, natural resource management, skills and infrastructure are critical to sustaining Malta’s economic growth. Given spatial and resources constraints, continued economic development will require even more focus to be placed on environmental sustainability.
The full report is available here.