Malta

The National Youth Policy  2021-2030 sets out two main objectives: to effectively support and encourage young individuals in fulfilling their potential and aspirations while addressing their needs and concerns; and to effectively support young people as active and responsible citizens who fully participate in and contribute to the social, economic, political and cultural life of the nation and Europe.

Published on October 25, 2023
Updated on February 20, 2024

Definition of youth

The National Youth Policy 2021-2030 focuses on youth aged between 13 and 30 years old.

Definition 1
13 - 30 years

Source: National Youth Policy 2021

Definition 2

Voting Rights

Majority age
18 years
Voting age
18 years
Criminal responsibility
15 years

Candidacy age

Lower House
18 years
Upper House
--- (unicameral)
President
--- (tbc)

Marriage & Gender

Without parental consent
Female
16 years
Male
16 years
With parental consent
Female
16 years
Male
16 years

Source: UNSD, UNDESA, ILGA

Is same-sex marriage legalized?
Female
Yes
Male
Yes

Source: UNSD, UNDESA, ILGA

Are other genders recognised?
Yes
self-determination model

Policy & Legislation

Is there a national youth policy?
Yes

The National Youth Policy 2021-2030 sets out two main objectives:

  1. To effectively support and encourage young individuals in fulfilling their potential and aspirations while addressing their needs and concerns;
  2. To effectively support young people as active and responsible citizens who fully participate in and contribute to the social, economic, political and cultural life of the nation and Europe and in addressing global issues.

These aims are to be implemented through a variety of measures envisaged in the draft such as "connecting with and listening to the voices of young people" and "empowering young people through the effective practice of youth work." The policy comprises six main strategic goals and actions related to achieving said objectives. A mid-term review will take place in 2025/2026 to assess the policy's relevance and implementation. According to the policy, the former Ministry for Education and Employment and the Parliament Secretary for Youth, Sport, and Voluntary Organisations are responsible for the policy's implementation.

Public Institutions

Is there a governmental authority that is primarily responsible for youth?
Yes

In Malta, the Ministry for Education, Sport, Youth, Research and Innovation (MEYR) is responsible for issues related to youth. The Parliamentary Secretariat for Youth, Research, and Innovation is an entity under the MEYR. According to the MEYR website, tasks of the overall Ministry range from developing new strategies for youth policy to supporting "a wide variety of higher education and training opportunities to enable everyone to get ahead in life and develop themselves professionally."

Youth & Representation

Does the country have a national youth organization or association?
Yes

TheNational Youth Council of Malta (KNZ) was established in 1992 as an independent organisation. The KNZ aims "to cultivate a society in which youth are motivated to take action ensuring that their voice is heard, valued and pursued." The KNZ is composed of over 30 political organisations and is a member of the European Youth Forum, Platform of Human Rights Organisations in Malta (PHROM), and SDSN Youth. According to the Maltese government website, there is a National Youth Council (government representation) under the Parliamentary Secretariat for Youth, Research, and Innovation. However, no further information was found regarding the representative National Youth Council.

Youth work

Is youth work a formally recognised profession?
Yes

The Youth Work Profession Act (2014) defines youth work as a "non-formal learning activity aimed at the personal, social, and political development of young people." The act professionalises youth work and outlines the requirements needed to practice youth work. These requirements include being registered in the Register of Youth Workers and having a professional qualification approved by the Youth Work Profession Board. The Youth Work Profession Board is responsible for regulating the practice of youth work and advising the Ministry responsible for youth on issues of youth work. The University of Malta offers both a bachelor's and master's degree in Youth and Community Studies. There has been a Department of Youth and Community Studies at the university since 1993.

Budget & Spending

Does the national youth policy have a dedicated budget?
Unclear

The Financial Estimates (Draft) 2023((This link is broken, link to PDF once uploaded in YPL library)) allocates EUR 394.3 million (USD 408.9 million) to the Ministry of Education, Sport, Youth, Research, and Innovation. Under this budget, Youth Activities are allocated EUR 160,000 (USD 165,830), the National Youth Council is given EUR 25,000 (USD 25,910) and the Youth National Programme is allocated EUR 273,000 (USD 282,948). However, no information on the 2023 National Youth Policy((This link is also broken, see note above)) budget was found.

Contextual Figures

Liberal Democracy Index
782
Youth Progress Index
84.91

Economic Indicators

GDP per capita
$34218.21
Human Development Index
0.918
Gini coefficient
31.4

Additional background

According to a 2022 article by the Times of Malta, youth have a bleak outlook for the country:

"A survey carried out among a cross-section of Malta's young people has shown a very dismal view of the country, especially its education, employment and environment sectors. É The scientific research used a sample pool of 2,037 respondents, with 70 questions. The results showed that 85% of respondents believed the educational system has failed them in managing their finances. 81.9% believed the educational system has failed to prepare them for stress management and 74.3% felt the educational system has failed to prepare them for entrepreneurship. É The research found that there are three main reasons why youths want to leave Malta permanently: salaries, job opportunities, and the environment."

Additionally, a 2022 article by Jurgen Balzan details the Nationalist Party's fear of brain drain in Malta:

"The Nationalist Party is concerned that Malta is facing a brain drain, as an EY Survey showed that many young people would rather live outside Malta. The latest EY Generate Youth Survey found that 72% of Gen-Z and 77% of Millennials would rather live outside of Malta."

The Nationalist Party explains: "If many young people leave our country, not only will the average age of the population continue to grow, but worse than that, we will suffer from what is called brain drain, which means that we will have lost the only resource that the country has." As a result, the party "insists that the government takes immediate action to address the issues, by offering more job opportunities for young people to ensure that Malta's quality of life begins to improve."

Sources

See all sources (4)

Updates

  • Update 20.02.2024: