Maltese want more Europe in everything… except taxes

76% of Maltese want harmonisation of wages – but only 46% want harmonisation on taxes

A Eurobarometer survey conducted in all 28 EU member states shows that the Maltese are among the most likely to favour more European integration in most fields, with the notable exception of taxation.

In fact while over two-thirds of Maltese favoured increased European integration on a variety of issues ranging from animal welfare (66%) to wages (76%), a sizeable minority of 46% favour increased tax harmonisation.

Yet despite the consensus of both major political parties against tax harmonisation in view of Malta’s tax competitiveness, nearly half of Maltese respondents agreed with “more harmonisation” of taxation systems in the EU.

The interviews were carried out face-to-face with respondents.

While only 35% of the Maltese opt for the status quo, 9% said they want less harmonisation. The Maltese turned out to be more keen on tax harmonisation than the Dutch (42%), the British (35%) the Danes (30%) the Swedes (27%) and the Estonians (24%). Countries averse to tax harmonisation include both countries with a low tax rate like Estonia, and Scandinavian countries, which tend to have higher tax rates.

Fellow Mediterranean countries like Portugal (74%), Spain (71%), Italy (68%), and Greece (64%) tend to be the most in favour of more harmonised taxation. Economically troubled nations also tend to favour tax harmonisation more than economically prosperous countries.

Agreement with harmonisation of wages also tends to be higher in poorer countries like Bulgaria (90%) and Greece (87%) and lowest in richer countries like the Netherlands (47%) and Sweden (38%).

The Maltese also tend to be keener on harmonisation on environmental standards than on animal welfare. In fact, while 76% want greater harmonisation with regards to environmental standards, 66% want greater harmonisation on animal welfare rules. This could well reflect the concern of hunters and trappers that harmonisation on this issue could pose a threat to their hobbies. But the Maltese still tend to be more in favour of harmonisation of animal welfare rules than respondents in most other EU countries.

Maltese optimistic on Europe’s future

In general the Maltese also tend to be more optimistic about Europe’s future than other Europeans. The Maltese are the most likely among the 28 member states to think that Europe offers a future to its youths (87%). Only 59% of Greeks and 56% of Spaniards express the same view. But the Maltese are also confident about their life chances in their own country. 69% of Maltese think that everyone in their country has a chance to succeed in life, compared to only 55% in the EU as a whole.

But the Maltese also express signs of apprehension on globalisation in general. 61% now regard globalisation as a threat to their identity, a view expressed by 53% of respondents in all EU 28 members. Only 36% of Germans and 30% of Swedes think likewise.

With regards to immigration when asked what should now be given priority for the benefit of Europeans in 20 years’ time only 18% of Maltese replied that the priority should be integrating migrants in their host country. For 64% of Maltese the priority should be fighting illegal immigration. In all EU 28 countries 26% replied that integration should be a priority while 44% replied that the priority should be fighting illegal immigration.

Surprisingly only 7% of Maltese replied that a common asylum policy should be a priority in contrast to 28% of all Europeans.

And only 5% of Maltese believe that the priority should be “welcoming all the people who need to come in to Europe” while 28% think putting strict limits on the arrival of new people should be the EU’s priority. The Swedes (18%) where the most likely to say that the EU’s priority should be to welcome all those who need to live in Europe. 55% of Swedes believe that the priority should be integrating migrants in their host country.

The survey also assessed the readiness of different nationalities to offer help to other EU members. 56% of Maltese think that the EU should definitely help other members if they cannot guarantee a minimum living standard to their citizens. In this aspect the Maltese are more in synch with poorer EU members like Greece (57%) and Spain (59%). In contrast only 30% of the Dutch think that the EU should definitely help. When it comes to countries facing a migration crisis, 71% of Maltese believe that the EU should definitely help in contrast to only 41% of Poles.

Climate change a reality for the Maltese

The Maltese are the most likely in Europe to believe that climate change is entirely attributable to human activity (58%). A further 36% of Maltese believe that climate change is partly attributable to human activity.

In all EU countries 42% attribute climate change entirely to human activity while 51% partly attribute it to human activity. Only 2% of Maltese share Donald Trump’s view that climate change has nothing to do with human activity. This view is expressed by 5% of respondents in all EU member states. Climate change denial is strongest in the Portugal (12%), Estonia and Latvia (10%) Romania (9%) and the UK (8%).

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