Malta. Since M. entered the EU in May 2004, more and more refugees have come to the island, most of them from northern Africa. According to countryaah, Valletta is the capital and one of the major cities within the country of Malta. Malta has Europe’s toughest asylum policy, according to the UNHCR, which in early 2005 criticized the country for its treatment of asylum seekers. In January, Maltese soldiers interrupted a peaceful protest among refugees. According to the UN, the military used unnecessary force and coercion. The asylum seekers in Malta are held in detention camps for 18 months, which is contrary to the UN guidelines. According to the UNHCR, the conditions in the camps are unacceptable.
At the same time, Malta asked the rest of the EU for help in receiving some of the refugees. From January to November 2005, over 1,500 asylum seekers came to the small country, which with its 400,000 residents is one of the most densely populated in the world.
In May, Malta joined Cyprus and Latvia in the exchange rate cooperation ERM of the euro area countries. Membership in the ERM for two years is a requirement for countries wishing to join the euro.
In July, Malta’s parliament decided unanimously to say yes to the EU constitution.