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Malta

Yearbook 2018

Malta. According to Countryaah.com, Malta's National Assembly voted in March to lower the voting age from 18 years to 16 years. The new age limit would apply to all types of choices.

2018 Malta

According to the organization Reporters Without Borders (RUG) annual press freedom index, Malta fell from last year's place 47 to place 65. According to RUG, freedom of the press had deteriorated in several European countries in the past year.

A conflict between Malta and Italy caught fire in June after both countries refused to accept the rescue ship Aquarius with 629 migrants. Italy claimed that the responsibility lay on Malta, while Malta felt that it had no obligation to receive the migrants when they were rescued in Libyan territory and the operation was ruled out of Italy. After Aquarius was wandering around for a week, the ship was finally allowed to add to Spain.

The incident, which sparked a stir within the EU, prompted Malta shortly after the rescue vessel Lifeline to contact the port of Valletta on condition that the ship's 234 migrants were distributed among several countries.

Italy responded that it would receive some of the migrants, after which French President Emmanuel Macron, after a visit to the Pope in Rome, announced that France and five other EU countries would also welcome migrants from the ship. Subsequently, two more EU countries joined and Norway also said that "for humanitarian reasons" 15 of the migrants would be accepted. According to Malta's Prime Minister Joseph Muscat, the incident was "unique" and not an example of how similar situations are usually handled.

The decision to receive Lifeline, run by a non-governmental organization, was, according to Malta, a one-off event.

In July, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat and his wife Michelle were freed from all suspicions of financial crime in connection with the scandal surrounding the so-called Panama Papers. An investigation was launched last year after journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, who made charges against the couple Muscat, was murdered in a car bomb attack.

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