Malta. In June, Malta, Cyprus and Greece met for a meeting in The Hague organized by the International Commission for Missing Persons (ICMP). Since 2014, almost 18,500 people have tried to cross the Mediterranean to Europe. The countries promised to increase their efforts to map the fate of the disappeared.
In July, Italy and Malta called on the EU to discuss a deal on how responsibilities for migrants and refugees rescued in the Mediterranean would be distributed. The same month, three 50-year-old men were indicted for the murder of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia in 2017. However, the police’s search for the person who had ordered the murder continued.
Following a call from the Council of Europe in September, the Maltese government appointed a commission to examine whether Daphne Caruana Galizia had been better protected, as she herself stated several times that she had been threatened. Caruana Galizia reviewed high-ranking people with links to the Panama Papers and accused, among other things, government representatives of money laundering.
- ABBREVIATIONFINDER.ORG: Click to see the meanings of 3-letter acronym and abbreviation of MLT in general and in geography as Malta in particular.
In September, EU asylum and Home Affairs Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos and EU Presidency Finland met with Interior Ministers from Germany, France, Italy and Malta in Valletta to reach an agreement on the distribution of refugees and migrants rescued from the Mediterranean.
The countries came up with a temporary solution that was presented at the EU Home Affairs and Justice Minister’s meeting in Luxembourg in October. It meant that Germany, France, Italy and Malta would share the responsibility. In addition to the four countries, six other EU countries had reported their interest.
One of Malta’s most famous businessmen Yorgen Fenech was arrested in November, as part of the investigation into the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia. According to newspaper reports, Yorgen Fenech is suspected of having paid bribes of nearly EUR 2 million to the government’s Chief of Staff Keith Schembri and to the Minister of Tourism, former Minister of Energy, Konrad Mizzi. Shortly after the arrest, both Keith Schembri and Konrad Mizzi resigned from their posts.
At the end of November, Yorgen Fenech was formally charged with being involved in the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia. He himself appointed Keith Schembri as responsible.
In front of the Valletta government building, thousands of protesters gathered, demanding the departure of Prime Minister Muscat. He was charged with corruption and for standing in the way of a fair murder investigation.
In early December, Muscat announced that he would resign sometime after January 12, 2020, when a new Labor Party leader would be elected.
Also the European Parliament and votes within the UN urged Joseph Muscat to resign immediately. The European Parliament criticized him for having pardoned key witnesses from prosecution during the murder investigation.
According to CountryAAH, the population of Malta in 2019 was 440,261, ranking number 174 in the world. The population growth rate was 0.260% yearly, and the population density was 1376.1625 people per km2.