The country-specific recommendations are documents prepared by the European Commission for each Member State, which analyse its economic situation and provide tailored policy advice on measures that it should adopt over the coming 18 months. They cover the particular challenges that the Member State is facing in a broad range of areas: the state of public finances, reforms of pension systems, measures to create jobs and to fight unemployment, education and innovation challenges, efficiency of the public administration, competition etc. The final adoption of country-specific recommendations prepared by the Commission takes place at the highest level by national leaders in the European Council.
Real GDP growth in Malta rebounded in 2013 and the country is projected to experience strong economic growth also in 2014, driven by domestic demand. Economic activity is expected to continue to accommodate an expansion of the labour force with a relatively strong rise in employment, while the unemployment rate is projected to remain stable. The Council opened a new Excessive Deficit Procedure for Malta based on both deficit and debt in June 2013. On the basis of its 2014 in-depth review presented on 5 March 2014, the Commission concluded that the macroeconomic challenges in Malta no longer constitute substantial macroeconomic risks.
Malta has made some progress in responding to the 2013 country-specific recommendations. Substantial progress was made in implementing measures supporting the labour market participation of women and reinforcing financial stability. Some progress has also been made with regard to correcting the excessive deficit, improving educational outcomes, reforming the judicial system and improving the efficiency of public procurement procedures. Most of the reforms, however, will have an impact only in the medium to long term. Progress on reducing reliance on imported oil has been limited, and no significant steps were taken to reform the pension and health care systems so as to ensure their long-term sustainability.
Additional policy action is needed to address existing challenges in Malta, in particular to ensure the sustainability of public finances and to further stimulate economic growth and job creation. See how Malta compares with other EU Member States in key areas.
2014 European Commission's recommendations in brief
The Commission has issued five country-specific recommendations to Malta to help it improve its economic performance. These are in the areas of: public finances and taxation; pensions and health care; labour market, education and training; energy; efficiency of the public administration and access to finance.