Malta is again set to register a new EU record for the largest Cabinet and the highest number of MPs per capita in its parliament among the 27 member states.
Prime Minister Robert Abela has once again opted to have one of the largest Cabinets in history, with the island’s administration managed by more ministers than Germany, the largest EU member state.
Taxpayers will have to fork out more than €100 million over the five-year legislature to pay all the ministers and parliamentary secretaries in Abela’s Cabinet, according to calculations based on official figures.
With 19 ministers (including the prime minister) and four parliamentary secretaries appointed by Abela earlier this week, Malta has the largest administration by far, when taking into account its size compared to other EU member states.
In addition, the prime minister has already declared that he will be appointing at least another two members of Cabinet once the casual elections are held and the gender mechanism is implemented.
According to the last budget estimates, a ministry is currently costing taxpayers some €900,000 a year, when considering the payments and allowances given to ministers and their staff, mostly canvassers recruited on a position or trust basis.
On the other hand, every parliamentary secretary is costing taxpayers another €500,000 a year.
This means taxpayers are expected to fork out some €100 million to sustain Abela’s Cabinet over the next five years.
With a total of 23 Labour MPs given an executive position, more than half of its parliamentary group, Malta’s administration in significantly larger than those of the German, Belgian, Danish, Irish and Portuguese governments, among other EU member states.
Cyprus has a total of 12 ministers, while the Baltic states of Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania have Cabinets with less than 17 ministers each.
Luxembourg has a total of 17 ministers. The country with the highest number of ministers is France, which has 42 members of Cabinet. However, its population is 134 times that of Malta.
The same applies to Malta’s overstuffed parliament, which is now going to increase even further, up to 79 MPs through the introduction of a controversial gender mechanism.
Apart from an increased cost in honoraria payments – at least another €300,000 a year, it is estimated that there will now be a Maltese MP for every 4,500 residents, by far the largest per capita representation in the EU. The population size considered is 500,000, according to NSO figures.
While on average, parliaments in the 27 EU member states have less than one MP representing every 100,000 residents, in Malta the rate is 15.8 per 100,000.
Although the situation in small members states is not expected to be proportional to the larger countries, Malta’s situation is still unique.
For example, Cyprus, with a population of 1.2 million, has seven MPs per 100,000 people, while Luxenberg has 10 MPs per 100,000 residents.