Eurofound's EU PolicyWatch collates information on the responses of government and social partners to the COVID-19 crisis, the war in Ukraine, rising inflation, as well as gathering examples of company practices aimed at mitigating the social and economic impacts.
Factsheet for measure MT-2022-10/2197 – Updated – measures in Malta
|Malta , applies nationwide
|Open ended, started on 01 March 2022
|COVID-19, War in Ukraine
|Other initiatives or policies
Supporting businesses to stay afloat
– Direct subsidies (full or partial) or damage compensation
|Luke Anthony Fiorini (University of Malta) and Eurofound
|29 April 2022 (updated 19 June 2023)
Malta largely imports its essential grains. The price of such grains had been increasing in recent years due to the impact of climate change on markets and the impact of COVID-19 on shipping. The price of wheat and other grains rose substantially following Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
A Malta Today article reported that since March 2020, the price of wheat had risen by almost 30% after commencement of the war in Ukraine, and 60% since January. Some importers reported that prior to the war, they sourced their products from the Ukraine and Russia. Importing from Russia is no longer possible due to restrictions on financial transfers. Newspaper reports state that Malta's rice starch was entirely derived from the Ukraine, and 80% of imports of oats, maize starch and crude sunflower-seed oil were also imported from the Ukraine. Conversely, Malta's largest importer of wheat stated that this was not imported from the Ukraine due to its lower certification standards and much wheat was previously imported from Russia. The government noted that Malta was particularly susceptible to global price pressure due to the small amount of produce being imported due to the small market and limited infrastructure for storage.
A substantial rise in the cost of such essential grains would likely impact negatively upon several economic sectors, such as farming, animal husbandry, and industries producing or preparing food. High costs are also likely to have a large impact upon consumers in general. In response to this, the government stepped in to limit the impact of rising global prices upon the Maltese economy and individuals.
Initially, wheat and other grain importers stated that they were absorbing the additional costs of importation, or relying upon stocks held in Malta, and thus had yet to feel the impact of the changing global markets. It was reported that Malta's importers typically have a four month stock of wheat.
Following talks between importers and the government, it was announced that national funds would provide emergency liquidity for importers and that importers would be provided access to a national wheat storage facility (Corradino wheat terminals), which are able to store around 12 months worth of wheat. This was being done to stabilise prices in Malta.
The Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries, Food and Animal Rights, Anton Refalo, revealed that €1.5 million will be provided to farmers and €2.5 million to animal breeders. More specific details of the financial assistance being given to importers was not provided.
On 20 September 2022, it was announced that the price of a loaf of bread in Malta had risen by 13% since August 2021. While this is a substantial rise for a staple food, the rise in Malta is the sixth lowest in the EU, highlighting the impact of government measures in this respect.
|Does not apply to workers
Sector specific set of companies
|Applies to all citizens
Social partners' role in designing the measure and form of involvement:
|Direct consultation outside a formal body
Social partners' role in the implementation, monitoring and assessment phase:
In early March, the chief executive of Federated Mills, which supplies milled flour to around three quarters of Maltese manufacturers, expressed concern about the difficulty of obtaining grains from the Ukraine and Russia during the war and while other countries were reported to be restricting their export. He called for government intervention. The the Malta Chamber of Commerce, also called for support, suggesting that temporary state aid was required for affected sectors, liquidity such as loans, and the establishment of a common purchasing facility to aid in procuring essential items from alternative sources were also needed.
Subsequent measures were announced following an agreement being reached between wheat and animal feed importers and the government.
No views or reaction were expressed in the media or by public means in terms of this measure. It is worth noting that the measures were announced a week before a general national election and this may have affected coverage.
|Sector (NACE level 2)
|A - Agriculture, Forestry And Fishing
|A1 Crop and animal production, hunting and related service activities
|G - Wholesale And Retail Trade; Repair Of Motor Vehicles And Motorcycles
|G46 Wholesale trade, except of motor vehicles and motorcycles
|H - Transportation And Storage
|H52 Warehousing and support activities for transportation
This case is not occupation-specific.
Eurofound (2022), Subsidy for importers of cereals and flour, measure MT-2022-10/2197 (measures in Malta), EU PolicyWatch, Dublin, https://static.eurofound.europa.eu/covid19db/cases/MT-2022-10_2197.html
30 January 2023
Governments across the EU continue to implement policies to support citizens and businesses in the face of rising food and energy prices caused by the COVID-19 crisis and intensified by the war in Ukraine. This article summarises the policy responses as reported in Eurofound's EU PolicyWatch database from January to September 2022.Article
12 September 2022
Although the worldwide pandemic situation had already disrupted supply chains and triggered increases in energy and food prices in 2021, the situation deteriorated in 2022 with the Russian invasion of Ukraine.Article
12 September 2022
This article summarises the first policy responses that governments across the EU have started to implement to support companies affected by the rising prices, and those with commercial ties to Ukraine, Russia or Belarus.Article
Disclaimer: This information has not been subject to the full Eurofound evaluation, editorial and publication process.