Last updated in September 2014
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. Most recently, Malta’s President George Abela paid an official visit to Germany in March 2014 and former Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi was in Berlin for talks in January 2013. Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel visited Malta in January 2011. 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. Germany supports Malta in its efforts to cope with the refugee problem, among other things by the voluntary admission of refugees.
Germany is one of Malta’s major trading partners. Some 60 to 70 German companies are currently registered in Malta. In 2013, the volume of Malta’s bilateral trade with Germany fell, by 1.5 per cent for imports from Germany, to EUR 315 million, and by 4 per cent for Maltese exports to Germany, to EUR 344 million. Nevertheless, Germany is an important trading partner of Malta, ranking 2nd as a supplier of imports and 1st a buyer of exports. At the end of 2012, German direct and indirect investment in Malta stood at EUR 19.3 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 agreement, 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.
2013 was again a record year for Malta’s tourism sector. The number of German tourists grew by
7 per cent, to 147,110, making Germans the third largest group of visitors, after Britons and Italians. Although the number of German cruise ship tourists fell in 2013, by 33 per cent to 83,366, Germans remained the largest group, 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.
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, 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. In autumn 2009, a Federal Foreign Office-funded German Chair for Peace and Conflict Studies was established 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. There are also partnerships with 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.