Government’s measures to address the cost-of-living hike are falling short of expectations as Malta registered the highest decline in people’s satisfaction levels in this regard, a European Parliament report has concluded.    

A Eurobarometer survey carried out in Spring has found that compared to October-November 2022, satisfaction with the with the measures taken by national governments to tackle the rising cost of living has declined in 14 countries. Malta (34%, -32 pp) stands out for a particularly large decline in satisfaction, followed by Portugal (28%, -11 pp) and Slovenia (25%, -10 pp). This means that 64% of the Maltese are not happy on the manner in which government is tackling inflation.

Conversely, the level of satisfaction has risen in six countries: Poland (47%, +9 pp), Denmark (54%, +8 pp), Belgium (44%, +8 pp), Germany (39%, +8 pp), Lithuania (29%, +8 pp) and Latvia (26%, +4 pp).

Though inflation is having a global impact, in the case of Malta the biggest concern regards food prices which are registering sharp increases. Essential items like bread, cereals, and dairy products have risen sharply as recently as last month. The situation could turn for the worse should government stop subsidizing fuel and electricity prices.

Dissatisfaction also on EU’s response

The level of satisfaction with the measures taken by the EU has also decreased since October-November 2022 in 13 countries, with decreases by more than ten percentage points seen once again in Malta (28%, -24 pp), Portugal (33%, -12 pp) and Slovenia (23%, -11 pp). This means that In Malta 54% are not happy with the EU’s response.

By contrast, this proportion has increased in eight countries, especially in Germany (36%, +9 pp), Latvia (33%, +9 pp) and Belgium (39%, +8 pp). Results are stable in a further six countries.

ETUC sounds warning and flags Malta’s situation

Malta’s situation has also attracted the attention the European Trade Union Council (ETUC), which expressed its concern. In a statement it warned that the European Commission’s call to stop subsidizing energy prices could spell trouble. Moreover, it reiterated its proposal for a cap on food prices.

“EU leaders are acting like the cost-of-living crisis is over but their own polling shows that people are still struggling and need more help,” ETUC secretary general Ester Lynch said.

“Not only is it too soon to withdraw the support measures put in place, but the poll shows that the current measures don’t go far enough to make a real difference to people’s lives.

“The European Commission need to listen to people’s concerns and change course. The only people who will benefit from a return to austerity in the middle of a cost-of-living crisis are the far-right,” she warned.