The majority of Maltese are unhappy with how things are going in the country, fear a decline in their standard of living, and see democracy and the rule of law as key matters that need addressing, according to the Eurobarometer survey results published Wednesday.
Eurobarometer is a survey of opinions of member state residents conducted regularly and on behalf of the EU institutions. The last survey was carried out in March 2023 at an EU level and among Maltese residents with the latest edition conducted between September and October this year.
The latest results, analysed by The Shift News, show that half of Maltese respondents do not think things are going well in Malta, with some 85% believing their standard of living is set to decrease, compared to just 73% across other EU member states. Just 1% of Maltese hoped their standard and quality of life would improve soon.
As for whether things will be better, worse, or the same one year from today, 46% of Maltese said things will be worse, 42% said it will remain the same, and just 7% think things will be better.
Malta is struggling with an increase in the cost of living that is pushing many families to the edge. The cost of food, rent, and other essential items has risen significantly, combined with problems related to overpopulation including pollution and traffic, throttled infrastructure, and power blackouts.
Asked whether things are going well in Malta, 60% of non-Maltese EU respondents said they were not, while 50% of Maltese thought the same. Just over a quarter of Maltese respondents thought things were going well locally. As for optimism for the future, 60% of EU citizens are optimistic about the future of the EU, while in Malta, it was even lower at 41%, showing, once again, more pessimism than European counterparts, The Shift reported.
Over half thought the economy was set to decline, and 29% thought it would stay the same, with just 11% hopeful that things would improve, likely related to the cost of living woes.
Furthermore, some 58% said they were not satisfied with the level of democracy in Malta, which is higher than the European average of 53%. Just 40% were satisfied, and 2% did not know. At the EU level, 45% of citizens are happy with democracy in their home country.
Regarding EU democracy, 41% of Maltese had faith in it, meaning they believe European institutions are more democratically robust than those at home.
As for the benefits EU membership brings, 92% of Maltese respondents said Malta has benefitted with an equal distribution among all ages and political leanings. Some 72% of Maltese respondents believe they have helped from it, while 89% say it impacts their daily lives.
Key benefits identified by respondents in Malta include economic growth, job opportunities, and a stronger voice globally.
Regarding disadvantages, they noted the loss of control over national borders, people’s jobs being at risk, and a risk to peace and security.
When asked about the role of the European Parliament, bearing in mind President Roberta Metsola heads it, 74% said they were aware of developments there from the media. Across Europe, respondents had a generally neutral opinion of the Parliament’s work, but in Malta, it was overall positive, and 73% said it should have a stronger role.
On whether their voices were heard in Europe, 48% of Maltese thought it was the case, similar to the bloc-wide average. But home in Malta, the majority, 52%, said they do not feel their voice is heard.
As for the upcoming elections, 68% of Maltese respondents said they are interested, 11 percentage points higher than the EU score. Some 70% said they would vote, including many who did not vote in the previous European Parliament elections.
Pressed on their reasons for voting, 61% of Maltese said it was due to support for a political party, 53% expressed support for a specific candidate, while 35% said it is their duty as a citizen.
Maltese residents will vote for who they want to represent in the European Parliament on Saturday, 8 June 2024.
(Alice Taylor | Euractiv.com)
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