IMF and EU reports show situation in Malta better than in other countries, Joseph Muscat says

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said that reports issued by the IMF and European Commission on Malta this week had to be viewed within the context of what the institutions said about other countries

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat gave a short interview on One Radio this morning
Prime Minister Joseph Muscat gave a short interview on One Radio this morning

Recent reports from the International Monetary Fund and the European Commission, which criticised a number of aspects of Malta’s financial sector, had to be viewed within the context of what the two institutions had to say about other countries, the Prime Minister said.

Joseph Muscat said that the two reports, which were issued this week, had in fact been more critical of the situations in other countries than of Malta.

The IMF report, published on Thursday, said that the Maltese banking system was in good health, but warned that the high exposure to property-related loans and rising house prices pose a risk to the financial system.

And a 2019 Country Report published by the European Commission on Wednesday, indicated that while Malta’s economy continues to grow strongly, there remained the challenge to ensure that its development is sustainable in the long term.

Like, the IMF report, it confirmed that the banking system remains sound, but highlighted that shortcomings in anti-money laundering and enforcement also imply reputational risks. It also pointed out shortcomings in the governance framework of the country, and said that Malta had made limited progress in addressing its 2018 country recommendations.

In regard to what the reports pointed out, Muscat - in brief comments on One Radio on Sunday morning - acknowledged that there was still work to be done, and that Malta would be doing its best to make any necessary changes. However he said that, from the reports, it emerged that the situation in Malta is better than that in other countries.

“These reports are like the results of an exam, where the examiner tells you both where you went well and where you didn’t,” he said.

He said that such reports only showed an aspect of the situation, and that the government would continue working for the trust of the people.

Regarding the survey results published today by It-Torca and MaltaToday - both of which indicated a widening trust gap between him and Adrian Delia - Muscat said that he and the Labour Party would continue keeping their feet on the ground.

“The local council and European Parliament elections are difficult. We need to do our best to determine what the people are feeling and to be in contact with them. It is this which is crucial, not surveys,” he remarked.

Muscat also referred to last weekend’s storm, saying he was thankful to all the country’s police, army and civil protection personnel, thanks to whose work and dedication nobody lost their lives or was seriously hurt due to the effects of the weather conditions.