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.
Then Federal President Joachim Gauck paid an official visit to Malta in spring 2015, while Prime Minister Joseph Muscat met Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel for official talks in Berlin in spring 2015. There were further high-level meetings during Malta’s EU Council Presidency in 2017.
Germany is one of Malta’s major economic partners. Some 60 German companies are currently operating in Malta, including many manufacturing companies which serve international markets. At the end of 2017, German direct and indirect investment in Malta stood at approximately 13.5 billion euros.
In 2018 Maltese imports from Germany increased by around 4 percent to 440 million euros, while during the same period Maltese exports to Germany increased by 4.5 percent to 421 million euros. Germany is an important trading partner of Malta, ranking third as a supplier of imports and first as a buyer of exports.
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 by air from Germany. Thanks to its location in the Mediterranean, Malta is also an attractive cruise destination and its numerous English language schools are very popular with students from German schools.
The number of German tourists increased in 2018 to around 227,000, making Germans the third largest group of visitors, after the British and Italians. Some 97,000 of the 633,000 cruise ship tourists were Germans, making them the second largest group behind the British.
The Malta Tourism Authority has an office in Frankfurt am Main. Information on Malta as a holiday destination can be found in various languages on the Tourism Authority’s website (see list of useful links at the end of page).
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-Institut in the country. It not only offers language courses but also organises exhibitions, film screenings, concerts and other cultural events. The German-Maltese Circle’s counterpart in Germany is the German-Maltese Association.
A fully fledged German Studies programme was established at the University of Malta for the first time in October 2008. There are also a number of direct partnerships between the University of Malta and German higher education institutions. Since the 2009/10 winter semester, the Federal Foreign Office has funded a German Chair for Peace Studies and Conflict Prevention at the University of Malta’s Mediterranean Academy of Diplomatic Studies (MEDAC).
The Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft supported the Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology (MCAST) through an EU-funded project aimed at providing further training for teaching staff and upgrading the college to a university of applied sciences.
Since 2013, a school in Malta has been taking part in the Federal Foreign Office’s Schools: Partners for the Future initiative (PASCH). In order to cover all levels of German tuition, St. Margaret College, Cospicua (Cospicua Middle School + Secondary School) and St. Thomas More College, Żejtun (Secondary School – Luqa) form one PASCH partner school.
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 – was funded under the Federal Foreign Office’s Cultural Preservation Programme. Funding from the Cultural Preservation Programme was also used in 2017 to conserve the Dürer collection at the Mdina Cathedral Museum, one of the largest Dürer collections outside Germany.