Last updated in October 2013
Diplomatic relations were established between Germany and Malta in 1965, shortly after the country gained independence. Since Malta’s accession to the European Union on 1 May 2004, the traditionally close and amicable contacts between the two countries have become even more intensive. This is underlined by the mutual visits at senior government level. Maltese Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi last visited Germany in January 2013 at the invitation of Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel. Prior to this, in January 2011, Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel had held official talks in Malta. Maltese Foreign Minister Tonio Borg visited Berlin in September 2011. Federal Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection Minister Aigner visited Malta in early April 2012, as did German Bundestag President Norbert Lammert. Minister of State at the Federal Foreign Office Michael Link travelled to Malta in July 2012 and there were also visits by several committees of the German Bundestag and the Bavarian state parliament.
Germany supports Malta in its efforts to cope with the refugee problem.
Germany is one of Malta’s major trading partners. Some 60 to 70 German companies are currently registered in Malta. In 2012, the volume of Malta’s bilateral trade with Germany grew, by 0.2 per cent for imports from Germany, to EUR 318 million, and by 5.7 per cent for Maltese exports to Germany, to EUR 344.7 million. At the end of 2011, German direct investment in Malta stood at EUR 18.8 billion, according to German Federal Bank figures, putting Malta in 17th place worldwide among German investment destinations.
The following economic agreements between Malta and Germany are currently in place:
- Investment promotion and protection accord, in force since 17 December 1975
- Double taxation agreement, in force since 27 December 2001
- Air transport agreement of 1994, in force since March 1997
Malta is a popular tourist destination for Germans. In addition to its wide range of cultural events, it offers visitors pleasant temperatures even in winter and can be reached quickly and reliably by air from Germany. Thanks to its situation in the Mediterranean, Malta is also an attractive cruise destination, the entrance to the Grand Harbour alone offering spectacular views. German visitors are very welcome guests in Malta, being considered ‘quality’ tourists with an interest in the country’s history, culture, natural environment and language. Malta’s numerous English language schools are also very popular with students from German schools.
2012 was again a record year for Malta’s tourism sector. The number of German tourists grew by an above-average 2.5 per cent, to 137,214, making Germans the third largest group of visitors, after Britons and Italians. The number of German cruise ship tourists grew by 4.1 per cent, to 157,563, making Germans the largest group by far, ahead of the Italians and French.
A German-Maltese Business Council was set up at the Malta Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise and Industry in October 2011.
On the cultural front, too, relations between Malta and Germany are close. The German-Maltese Circle, which was founded in 1962, fills the gap left by the absence of a Goethe Institute there. It not only offers language courses but also organises exhibitions and film screenings. The German-Maltese Circle’s counterpart in Germany is the Maltese-German Association.
A fully fledged German Studies programme was established at the University of Malta in 2008. In addition, in autumn 2009 the Federal Government created – initially for a period of five years – a German Chair for Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Malta’s Mediterranean Academy of Diplomatic Studies (MEDAC). Since autumn 2009, the Fraunhofer Institute has been providing assistance through an EU-funded project to the Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology (MCAST) in teachers’ further training and is helping to set up new training courses. Since 2013, the state-funded St. Margaret’s College has been a partner school under the Federal Foreign Office’s ‘Schools: Partners for the Future’ initiative (PASCH).
In 2011 and 2012, Germany funded the restoration of the Chapel of the Langue of Germany in St. John’s Co-Cathedral in Valletta under the Federal Foreign Office's Cultural Preservation Programme.