What’s the number one global concern of the Maltese? Terrorism

Climate change came in third... a European Commission survey finds international terrorism is seen by 44% of the Maltese as the most serious problem facing the world

James Debono
22 September 2017, 12:00pm
The 2001 terrorist attack on the World Trade Centre in New York. Terrorism remains the top global concern for the Maltese
The 2001 terrorist attack on the World Trade Centre in New York. Terrorism remains the top global concern for the Maltese
Despite not having been the target of terrorist attacks the Maltese are the most likely among the EU’s 28 members to consider international terrorism as the world’s most serious problem. 

And despite living on an island which will be inevitably impacted by climate change only about one in 10 consider this to be the greatest problem facing the world.

This emerges from a European Commission survey conducted in March. The recently published survey included 500 Maltese respondents.

International terrorism is seen as the single most serious problem facing the world by 44% of the Maltese compared to only 24% of the French and 25% of UK respondents, two countries directly hit by attacks.

Poverty, hunger and lack of drinking water is considered the most serious problem by 22% of Maltese, followed by climate change (13%).

Compared to 2015, concern about international terrorism has risen locally by 4% while concern on climate change dropped by three points.  

The survey still shows concern on climate change to be one point higher than the rest of Europe while concern on poverty is six points lower.

In Europe after the Maltese the most concerned with terrorism were the Czechs (39%) and the Estonians and Italians (both 32%). 

However, fewer than one in six respondents in Greece (11%) and Spain and Sweden (both 14%) choose this answer. 

In only two Member States, climate change is seen as the single most serious global problem: Sweden (38%) and Denmark (29%). The economic situation is seen as the single most serious global problem in only one Member State, Greece, where just over a third of respondents (36%) give this answer. 

The percentage of Maltese who regard climate change as the world’s greatest problem had already fallen by 16 points between 2013 and 2015 as the percentage who regard terrorism as a top global problem had risen by 30 points in the aftermath of the Charlie Hebdo attacks in Paris.  

Moreover while 77% of Maltese mentioned international terrorism among the four more serious problems facing the world, 72% mentioned poverty and 49% mentioned climate change. 

This does not mean that the Maltese are not concerned by the impacts of climate change. In fact they are more likely to rate climate change as a serious problem than the average European respondent.

Asked to rate the seriousness of the problem on a scale from 1 to 10, 67% of Maltese gave a rating of 8 to 10 (compared to 58% of all EU 28 member states) while 86% gave a rating of between 6 to 10 (compared to 83% of all EU member states).

Since the previous survey in 2015, there has been an increase in the share of respondents who say they have personally taken action to fight climate change in 16 Member States, with a decline in nine. 

The largest increases are recorded in Malta (+17 percentage points). This means that 75% of the Maltese claim to have taken steps in their personal life during the previous six months to reduce their impact on climate change.

The Maltese were more likely than other European citizens to have installed solar panels, to buy local produce, to buy energy saving equipment in their homes and to separate or reduce their waste. 

While only 4% of respondents in all EU member states have installed solar panels on their roof, 14% of Maltese claim to have done so.   

And although official statistics show Malta falling short of EU recycling targets, 83% of Maltese claim that they are separating and reducing their waste compared to just 71% of other EU citizens.

But the Maltese are less likely to have insulated their homes, avoid car use and to avoid short flights. While 18% of EU citizens insulate their homes to reduce energy demand, only 8% of the Maltese do so. 

And while 26% of EU citizens have reduced car use by resorting to car sharing, cycling or walking only 18% of Maltese claim to have done likewise.

James Debono is MaltaToday's chief reporter on environment, planning and land use issues, ...