Last updated in March 2016
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 the highest political level.
Federal President Joachim Gauck paid an official visit to Malta in spring 2015. In February 2015, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat met with Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel for official talks in Berlin.
Germany is one of Malta’s major trading partners. Some 60 to 70 German companies are currently registered in Malta. In 2015, the volume of Malta’s bilateral trade with Germany increased by 15 per cent for imports from Germany, to EUR 372 million, and by 6.5 per cent for Maltese exports to Germany, to EUR 329 million. Germany is an important trading partner of Malta, ranking fourth as a supplier of imports and second a buyer of exports. At the end of 2013, German direct and indirect investment in Malta stood at EUR 15.2 billion, according to German Federal Bank figures.
The following economic agreements are in place between Malta and Germany:
- investment promotion and protection agreement, in force since 17 December 1975
- double taxation agreement, in force since 27 December 2001
- air transport agreement of 1994, in force since 17 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.
2015 was again a record year for Malta’s tourism sector. However, the number of German tourists fell slightly, by 0.7 per cent to 142,010, making Germans the third largest group of visitors, after Britons and Italians. The number of German cruise ship tourists increased by 10 per cent in 2015, to 124,285, Germans making up the largest group here, ahead of Britons and Italians.
A German-Maltese Business Council was set up at the Malta Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise and Industry in October 2011.
Culture and education
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 for the first time in 2008, and a DAAD academic teacher and a German language assistant have since taken up posts there. There are also a number of direct partnerships between the University of Malta and German higher education institutions. Since the 2009-2010 winter semester, there has been a Federal Foreign Office-funded German Chair for Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Malta’s Mediterranean Academy of Diplomatic Studies (MEDAC).
The Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft provided assistance through an EU-funded project to the Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology (MCAST) in teachers’ further training and in upgrading the college to a university of applied sciences. The accreditation of master’s study programmes is currently under way. There are partnerships with educational institutions including the Max Born Vocational College, the Rheydt Mülfort Vocational College, the Bad Mergentheim Industrial Vocational School, the Louise Schröder Oberstufenzentrum für Bürowirtschaft und Verwaltung Berlin (sixth form college for business administration) and Deggendorf Institute of Technology.
Since 2013, the state-funded St Margaret College has been a partner school under the Federal Foreign Office’s Schools: Partners for the Future initiative (PASCH). In 2011 and 2012, the restoration of the Chapel of the Langue of Germany in St John’s Co-Cathedral in Valletta – one of Malta’s most significant historical monuments and also an important testimony to a shared (European) history dating back to the Middle Ages – was funded under the Federal Foreign Office’s Cultural Preservation Programme.