From the COVID-19 pandemic to getting greylisted, 2021 has truly been a hectic year for Malta. And with a general election and other major developments on their way this year, everything indicates that 2022 will be no different.
I’ve done some crystal ball gazing and tried to predict what could happen in Malta next year. These are my personal predictions as of 2nd January 2022.
1. Roberta Metsola will become European Parliament President
Roberta Metsola will clear the last few hurdles in her way and officially become President of the European Parliament, which will make her the first-ever Maltese person to hold such a high-ranking EU role.
Besides being a landmark moment for Malta, Metsola’s appointment will also be a shot in the arm for the country’s abortion activists, as she will vocalise the EP’s declaration that abortion access is a human right.
2. The pandemic will finally come to a close
After over two tough years, the COVID-19 pandemic will fizzle to a close next year. Malta will mark the occasion with two major events, one a huge street party and the other a more sombre affair to pay tribute to the people who died and to hail the healthcare workers who got the country through the crisis.
Before this comes to pass though, there will be significant public upheaval over the upcoming booster mandates for Maltese vaccine certificate holders. The government, increasingly conscious of public opinion with an election on the doorstep, will move fast to amend the law.
3. Labour will propose the legalisation of assisted suicide
Buoyed by the legalisation of cannabis and inspired by moves in other European countries, the Labour Party will propose the legalisation of assisted suicide in its electoral manifesto. The Nationalist Party will oppose it and euthanasia will become a major talking point in the upcoming election campaign.
4. Emma Muscat will represent Malta at the Eurovision Song Contest
Ever-hungry for Eurovision success, Malta will pass the baton to Emma Muscat, the pop singer who is making a name for herself in Italy and who even got to perform at the Vatican on Christmas Eve.
Despite high hopes that Italy will award us the douze points, our neighbours will ultimately give us a solitary point, sparking another national discussion on whether Malta should boycott the competition once and for all.
5. Labour will win the election by a historic landslide
The Labour Party will win the general election by a margin of between 40,000 and 50,000 votes, the largest electoral landslide in Maltese history. Malta will move closer towards becoming a one-party state, prompting a serious moment of reflection for the Nationalist Party and the nation in general.
6. Joe Giglio will become PN leader
The election result will trigger another leadership election at the Nationalist Party. With Roberta Metsola out of the running having secured a top European post, the focus of PN supporters will turn to criminal lawyer Joe Giglio.
Giglio’s success as a candidate will be one of the PN’s few shining lights in the 2022 election and it will provide him with a strong base from which to woo supporters. For the third time running, the PN’s supporters will throw their weight behind a male lawyer and political newcomer as their new leader.
7. Konrad Mizzi will be prosecuted
A number of ongoing magisterial inquiries into alleged corruption will conclude and several people will be arrested and arraigned, the highest-profile of which will be former minister Konrad Mizzi.
This will place the two major government deals he negotiated – the Electrogas power station and the VGH hospitals contract – back under the microscope and the government will announce an internal review of both deals.
However, with Malta’s five-year agreement with Electrogas for the supply of LNG at a fixed price set to expire in April during a period of immense volatility in the global energy market, the government will be in no mood to scrap the deal, and will instead focus on negotiations with Electrogas.
Steward will also likely benefit from another subsidy increase in the next Budget.
8. The metro proposal will be officially shelved
Despite the snazzy PR stunt this year, the Malta metro proposal will barely feature in the PL’s electoral manifesto other than perhaps a nod to a new committee that will be set up to analyse it. Eventually it will be revealed that the committee has been disbanded and that the metro project has been shelved.
9. George and Alfred Degiorgio will finally face trial
Five years after their arrest for the assassination of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, brothers George and Alfred Degiorgio will finally have to face a jury. Their lawyers will try one last-ditch attempt to get them off on a technicality but it will be unsuccessful.
10. Malta will welcome its first cannabis social clubs
Following last year’s landmark legalisation of cannabis, this year will see the new law being implemented in practice. Cannabis social clubs will open successfully and the smell of weed will become more common when walking around the island.
However, warnings that the law will bring about a destructive social force will turn out to be baseless and the reality of living in a country with more liberal cannabis laws will soon be widely accepted.
11. Malta will just about remain on the FATF grey list
Malta’s efforts to get off the FATF grey list will be acknowledged by the global anti-money laundering body at its next review, but it won’t be enough and the country will remain on the list until 2023.
Do you agree with these predictions?