Concern about Malta’s democratic credentials appears to have increased significantly in the past months. According to a recent Eurobarometer study conducted by the European Parliament in March 2023, approximately half of the Maltese population expressed unhappiness with the functioning of democracy in Malta. The study, which gathered responses from over 26,000 Maltese participants, revealed that 49% reported being unsatisfied, while another 49% claimed to be satisfied, and 2% were unsure.
In comparison, when assessing the perception of democracy in the European Union as a whole, 61% of the Maltese respondents expressed satisfaction. The study aimed to gauge public opinion across the EU member states in preparation for the 2024 EU MEP elections, focusing on the European Parliament and life within the EU.
When asked about the main reasons for voting in the upcoming European Parliament elections, the majority of Maltese respondents stated that their vote would be driven by support for a specific political party or candidate, with 61% and 52% choosing these options, respectively. Notably, only 34% of Maltese respondents cited their duty as citizens as the primary reason for voting, which differed from the average response across the other 27 EU nations. The Maltese interviewees tended to highlight the importance of the European Parliament prioritizing the protection of human rights within the EU and globally, as well as defending democracy and the rule of law.
According to Maltese respondents, the European Parliament should give priority to safeguarding human rights both within the European Union and globally, as well as defending democracy and the rule of law. Additionally, Maltese citizens exhibited heightened concern about climate change and public health compared to the average European citizen. These two issues were identified as the top priorities that the Parliament should focus on.