The European Commission confirmed that the budget submitted by the Maltese government passed its test. In fact, Malta and three other countries (Ireland, Austria and Latvia) have presented a budget that is broadly compliant with the provisions of iStability and Growth Pact. While there were 5 other countries where the budget was fully compliant, there were six countries where there are risks of non-compliance and 4 other countries which are under the Commission’s fiscal surveillance.
The experts of the Commission, in their technical report, concluded that ‘the planned structural adjustment is in line with the required adjustment path’ as well as ‘Malta is expected to comply with the debt reduction benchmark in 2016.’
The European Commission continued to maintain that, for the first time since 1998, next year the country will have a national debt lower than 60%. The Commission forecast is even more optimistic than that presented in the Budget.
Even on economic forecasts, Commission experts are more optimistic than the estimates made in the Budget by the Government. For this year, the Commission is forecasting growth of 4.1%, against 3.9% on the part of Government, and in 2017 expects 3.7% against 3.5% by the government.
In its technical report, the European Commission also shows how our country has the lowest tax burden on workers from among all European Union countries. In fact, thanks to the measures taken over the years, the burden in Malta is almost half of the European average. This applies both to those on average pay as well as those close to the minimum wage.
Again, the need for an in-depth review of the economic situation of our country was not felt, as opposed to the situation in 13 other countries, including Germany, Italy and the Netherlands.