- Auberge de Castille, the Office of the Prime Minister, Malta (Photo: EUobserver.com)
Malta has a population of 0.41 million and an area of 316 km2. It has been a member of the EU since May 1, 2004.
Having had an Association Agreement with the EU since 1970, it finally applied for membership in 1990.
The country is politically divided between two parties. The ruling conservative party,the Nationalist Party, sought EU membership against the wishes of the opposition Maltese Labour Party, which preferred a partnership agreement with the EU.
In a referendum in March 2003, 53% of the voters expressed the wish to join the EU. The Nationalist Party won the national elections on 12 April 2003 and signed the Accession Treaty on 16 April 2003, and Malta became a member state of the EU in the 1 May 2004 enlargement.
Government of Malta http://www.gov.mt/index.asp?l=2
Background information on the political and economic situation and EU relations with Malta http://www.europarl.eu.int/enl......w/applicants/malta_home_en.htm