Situated in the centre of the Mediterranean Sea, Malta is a small archipelago of five islands - Malta (the largest), Gozo, Comino, Comminotto (Maltese, Kemmunett, and Filfla). The distance between Malta and the nearest point in Sicily is 93 km whilst the distance from the nearest point on the North African mainland (Tunisia) is 288 km. The capital of Malta is Valletta.
Malta is a sovereign independent state enjoying traditional political, economic and social stability. Not only did Malta ’s strategic geographical location play a decisive role in its history, it is still a crucial part of its economical, cultural and political evolution and prosperity. The implementation of an authoritative legislative framework and accession in the European Union have both stimulated significant developments in the island’s economy through the boost of direct investment into the country. The strategic importance of Malta was acknowledged by the Phoenicians, the Greeks, Carthaginians, and Romans. With the division of the Roman Empire in A.D. 395, Malta was allocated to the eastern portion controlled by Constantinople. Between 870 and 1090, it came under Arab rule. In 1091, the Norman noble Roger I, ruler of Sicily at that time, came to Malta with a small retinue and vanquished the Arabs.
In 1530 the Knights of St. John got hold of the three habitable Maltese islands of Malta, Gozo, and Comino from Charles V. The Knights reached their highest eminence when they resisted an attack by superior Turkish forces in 1565. Napoléon seized Malta in 1798, but the French forces were ousted by British troops the next year and in 1814 the British rule was confirmed by the Treaty of Paris.
Notwithstanding heavy attacks by German and Italian aircrafts during World War II, Malta was never invaded by the Axis powers. It became an independent nation on 21st September 1964, and a republic on 13th December 1974.
In 1979, with ending of its alliance with Great Britain, Malta wished to guarantee its neutrality through agreements with other countries. Maltese application for the EU membership was frozen by the Labour Party after its victory in the election in October of 1996. Malta was also withdrawn from the NATO Partnership for Peace program in attempt to sustain its neutrality.
The EU accession bid was revived when the Nationalist Party won 1998 elections and in 2004 Malta became full member of the European Union. The ruling Nationalist Party was reelected in March 2008, guaranteeing Gonzi a second term as prime minister.
With its highly educated workforce and low cost of professional services when compared with other EU countries, Malta has firmly established itself as a reputable business and financial centre offering attractive business solutions for individuals and international corporations alike. Malta is a member of the United Nations, of the Council of Europe and of the Commonwealth. It maintains friendly relations with all countries through its policy of non-alignment.
Malta can offer a number of advantages in an international tax strategy. As a reputable financial centre with money laundering and professional secrecy legislation in accordance with the EU regulation, it is not perceived with suspicion and is therefore a trustworthy jurisdiction from which one may carry on international business. It also offers a number of tax benefits and a extensive treaty network.