The Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr Tonio Borg welcomed Germany’s Minister of State for Europe, H.E. Michael Link for a bilateral meeting in Valletta. Dr Borg said that the bilateral relations between Malta and Germany may be termed as excellent and deep-rooted with a strong legal framework of bilateral agreements spelling out various forms of cooperation. Over the years, Malta received substantial aid from Germany in various fields such as in coastal surveillance, in the field of culture and in technical cooperation. Germans comprise the third largest group of tourists visiting Malta. Besides the tourist sector, around 70 German enterprises are firmly creating over 2,500 jobs. Meanwhile, the cultural and scientific exchanges between Germany and Malta continue to grow.
Minister Link referred to Malta as “an anchor of stability in Europe.” During the talks Deputy Prime Minister Tonio Borg had words of appreciation for the sponsorship by the Embassy of Germany in Malta which generously financed the complete restoration of the Chapel of the German Langue at St John’s Co-Cathedral. This project totalled in the region of €150,000. Minister Borg also referred to the initiative by Germany to relocate asylum seekers from Malta. The total number of persons that were relocated to Germany since 2006 is hence 286.
Trade exchanges between the two countries rose to its highest levels since Malta joined the European Union. Malta returned to a trade surplus with Germany following three years when exports dipped below imports. Trade exchanges reached €631 million compared to €620 million in 2004. The trade surplus reached €16.3 million last year compared to a deficit of €14.6 million in 2010. Trade exchanges between Malta and Germany are spread over a large number of product categories. The increase in imports in 2011 was largely accounted for by plastics and articles thereof (10.7 million), pharmaceutical products (€2.0 million), dairy produce (€1.6 million) sugars and sugar confectionery (€1.2 million). On the import side, the most important product categories are plastics and plastic products (13%), machinery and mechanical appliances (13%), electrical machinery (10%), motor vehicles and parts (7%), precious or semi-precious metals and stones (5%), paper and paperboard (2%) and essential oils and pharmaceuticals (each 2%).
The number of German tourists visiting Malta has been fluctuating within the 125-150,000 range for a number of years and this year has been no exception. German visitors to Malta in 2011 reached almost 135,000 an increase of 6.7% over the previous year. The number of foreign visitors to Malta last year reached record highs and the number of German tourists was also in line with the general trend. Per capita expenditure by German tourists rose by €49 in 2011 compared to the previous year and it rose again marginally in the first three months of this year compared to the same period in 2011. There are currently 740 firms registered with MFSA with German shareholding.