From the recent financial grey listing to the golden passport scheme and the murder of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, Malta may not have established the greatest international reputation over the past few years.
However, as much as people despise the lack of greenery on the island and the unstoppable and never-ending construction, it seems like tourists still love visiting our Mediterranean island.
As part of the Conference of the Future of Europe, the European Parliament gathered 200 European citizens in Strasbourg. These citizens were representative of all the EU states in age, gender and educational background.
Citizens were in the spotlight at the conference, and they discussed European values and rights, democracy, rule of law, and security. Their ideas and recommendations on the future of Europe will be taken into account by the European Parliament and the other EU institutions.
Lovin Malta made its way to Strasbourg to cover the event, and spoke to many of the 200 citizens to ask them one simple question: what do you know about Malta?
And, spoiler ahead, the grey listing fiasco wasn’t mentioned once, nor was the rampant corruption. Here’s what the European citizens did know:
Those who had no idea
“Not a lot.” (we got this answer a lot).
“Is it okay if I don’t know anything?”
“Malta… Is that part of Spain?”
Those who were getting closer
“I know it’s close to the sea…”
“And it’s an island!”
“The capital is Valletta, right?”
“I know Portugal wins every football match against Malta!”
The ones who had a clue
“I was supposed to go there, but COVID-19 messed it up…”
“My father in law went there, so everything I know about the island was through him.”
“One of my friends went there to pick oranges!”
“I met someone from Malta here!”
The hard-core Malta lovers
“It’s an English-speaking island in the Mediterranean.”
“It’s a little European country that loves Eurovision!”
“It’s an island-nation in the Mediterranean. I know it was part of the British empire, and that many gambling companies are located there.”
“I spent one week there, and I really liked it. Especially Valletta!”
Now this doesn’t say everything about the country’s reputation, as random citizens’ opinions might not be of the same importance as that of international banks and governments.
But it does put our Maltese mind to rest just a bit, because Malta is still known as a Mediterranean gem rather than “the country that killed a journalist” or “the only EU country that still has a blanket ban on abortion”.
Despite all its flaws, Malta still has the charm that it’s always had. Now it’s up to us to keep it that way.
This article forms part of a content series called Ewropej. This is a multi-newsroom initiative part-funded by the European Parliament to bring the work of the EP closer to the citizens of Malta and keep them informed about matters that affect their daily lives. These articles reflect only the authors’ views. The European Parliament is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information these articles contain.
What do you think about Malta’s international reputation?