Last updated in April 2017
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 two-way visits at the highest political level.
Then 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. In 2016, during preparations for Malta’s Presidency of the Council of the European Union, Federal Chancellor Merkel and Prime Minister Muscat had further meetings.
Germany is one of Malta’s major economic partners. Some 60 to 70 German companies are currently registered in Malta. In 2016 Maltese imports from Germany shrank by 4 percent to 366 million euros, while during the same period Maltese exports to Germany increased by 16 percent to 389 million euros. Germany is an important trading partner of Malta, ranking fourth as a supplier of imports and second as a buyer of exports. At the end of 2015, German direct and indirect investment in Malta stood at 16.9 billion euros, according to Bundesbank 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 by air from Germany. Thanks to its location 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.
Malta’s tourism sector enjoyed another record year in 2016. The number of German tourists climbed by 11 percent to 156,786, making Germans the third largest group of visitors, after the British and Italians. However, the number of German cruise ship tourists fell by 15 percent in 2016, to 105,373, with Germans comprising the second largest group, after Italians and ahead of the French.
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 2008, and has since been supplemented by adding a German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) lector and a German language assistant post. 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. The accreditation of master’s study programmes is currently underway. There are partnerships with German secondary and higher education 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.