|Repubblika ta 'Malta
|Form of government
|Telephone area code
The Republic of Malta lies about 90 km south of
Sicily in the Mediterranean Sea and consists of the
three islands Malta (246 km²), Gozo (67 km²) and Comino
(3 km²). The three islands, along with two smaller,
uninhabited islands, form the rest of a land bridge that
connected Sicily to North Africa 15 million years ago.
The main island of Malta occupies around 80% of the
total national area (316 km²) and consists of a
limestone plateau which gradually rises from the
northeast to the southwest to a height of up to 253 m (Bingemma
Heights). Large areas are karstified, there are no
rivers or natural lakes on the island. The coast is rich
in bay and flat in the north and east, in the south and
west there are cliffs with numerous caves. The capital
of the Republic, Valletta,is located on the island of
Malta . The island of Gozo is five kilometers northwest
of Malta and also consists of a limestone plateau that
is up to 176 m high. The island of Comino, which is only
three square kilometers in size, is located between Gozo
Malta has a Mediterranean climate with hot summers
and mild winters. In the capital Valletta, the average
temperature in July is 26 กใ C, in January 13 กใ C. In
summer, maximum values of up to 42 กใ C can be reached.
The average annual rainfall is 550 mm and falls mostly
from November to February.
Flora and fauna
There is hardly anything left of the original island
vegetation, today there are hardwood plants and shrub
willow (maquis and garigue), which have taken the place
of the former forests. Typical examples include thyme,
lavender and milkweed. Many of the plant species
available today have been imported to the island, such
as oil and carob trees, Aleppo pine and oleanders.
Larger wild animals are no longer found in Malta. The
animal world is poor in species, eg hedgehogs, mice,
rabbits, rats, lizards and snakes are common. It is
still common to hunt local songbirds (larks, thrushes,
blue alder) and the migratory birds that pass through
twice a year.
A total of 399,000 people live in the Republic of
Malta, most of them on the main island. With over 1 260
residents per square kilometer, the population density
is very high. The largest city is Birkirkara with around
22 500 residents, followed by Qormi (18 500) and Mosta
(18 100). The capital Valletta has around 7 100
residents. According to COUNTRYAAH, 95.7% of the population are Maltese, the
descendants of the many different conquerors of the
islands (Phoenicians, Arabs, Italians, Normans). The
largest minority are British with around 2% of the total
population. An estimated 400,000 Maltese live abroad.
The official languages in Malta are English and
Maltese, an Arabic-language with Italian elements. Over
95% of the population are Roman Catholic, the British on
the island are mostly Anglicans.
Social, health and education systems meet European
standards. Life expectancy averages 79 years and
population growth is 0.4%. 93% of the Maltese population
can read and write.
Malta is a parliamentary republic under the
constitution adopted in 1974. The head of state is the
President (George Abela since April 2009), who is
elected by the parliament for five years and primarily
performs representative tasks. The head of the
government is the Prime Minister (since March 2013
Joseph Muscat), who is usually the representative of the
strongest party in Parliament and is appointed by the
The legislature lies with the parliament, which
consists of one chamber. The 67 members are elected by
the people on the basis of proportional representation
for a term of five years. The ruling party is sometimes
granted additional seats to ensure a stable majority in
parliament. The two major political parties in Malta are
the Nationalist Party (NP) and the socialist Labor
Malta has relatively stable growth rates and is one
of the wealthiest countries. The unemployment rate for
2012 was 6.4%.
Agriculture only plays a subordinate role, only
around 20% of the population's own needs can be covered
by Maltese products and only 2% of the gross domestic
product (GDP) is generated in this sector. Potatoes,
citrus fruits, melons, cereals (wheat, barley) and wine
are mainly grown. On the small island of Comino there is
intensive sheep farming.
The most important economic sectors are electronics
and textile production, Valletta's shipyards in Grand
Harbor and Marsamxett Harbor, trade, insurance and
banking, service providers and tourism. 77% of GDP is
generated in the service sector; the number of visitors
is constantly increasing.
The main exports of Malta are mineral oils and
lubricants, as well as machinery and transport
equipment, which are bought by China, Singapore, the
United States and the major EU countries. Above all, the
same goods are imported; these come mainly from Italy
and other EU countries.
The euro was introduced on January 1, 2008.