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Social Policies in Malta

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SOCIAL POLICIES IN SMALL STATES SERIES



The country case studies and thematic papers in this series examine social policy issues facing small states and the implications for economic development. They show how, despite their inherent vulnerability, some small states have been successful in improving their social indicators because of the complementary social and economic policies they have implemented.



CASE STUDY – MALTA



Malta is a highincome developed small state, with an impressive level of economic growth and a multitude of social services, which have helped to provide free health and education to all its citizens and benefits to lowincome earners. However, various national and global factors are now threatening the sustainability of this extensive social security model. This paper examines the economic, political and social development of the island, particularly since independence, highlighting the successes and failures of the social development strategies adopted and suggesting how these lessons can inform future policy decisions.

English

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Foreword

During the 1960s and 1970s, increased interest was shown by some international organisations, such as the United Nations and the Commonwealth Secretariat, in small states, notably small island states, and the development challenges they faced during the decolonisation period. The Secretariat, with over one-third of Commonwealth members classified as small economies, is committed to the study of small states. The issue of their vulnerability was first given formal expression within the Commonwealth at the 1977 Commonwealth Finance Ministers Meeting in Barbados. Having noted the special characteristics of small states, in particular their reliance on trade, high dependence on capital inflows and, in some cases, their lack of natural resources, ministers urged the international community to adopt a more flexible approach to their requirements, as well as special measures to assist them. In response, the Secretariat designed a programme to assist in overcoming ‘the disadvantages of small size, isolation and scarce resources which severely limit the capacity of such countries to achieve their development objectives or to pursue their national interests in a wider international context’.

English

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