The UN refugee agency has criticised the island's policy of keeping asylum seekers in detention for 18 months.Over the centuries, Malta's strategic position fostered its development as an important trading post and it remains a leading centre for container and freight transhipment.Officially the Republic of Malta or Repubblika Ta' Malta, is a small though strategically important archipelago in the central Mediterranean Sea.The Maltese Archipelago is not a federal state and therefore has no provincial structure.They will in future be also responsible for tourist and transport services; and the setting up and running of nurseries, child care facilities, kindergartens, state schools, health centres, state pharmacies and senior citizen homes.Since Gozo is a separate geographical component of the Maltese state, it enjoys a fair degree of administrative autonomy.More stations followed and there is now a proliferation of privately-run radio stations and several TV channels.
Forty years on Malta was the smallest of the 10 countries to join the EU in May 2004. Since becoming an EU member, the tiny island has reported an increasing problem with immigration from north Africa and has requested more help to deal with it.
The Head of State of Malta remained Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom and her executive representative in Malta was the Governor General.
This arrangement was amended as from 13th December 1974 with the coming into force of a Republican Constitution.
Gozo has its own Bishop since 1865; its own Minister in the Cabinet of Ministers since 1992; and will be entitled to separate Objective 1 Status when and if Malta as a whole loses that status as an eventual member of the European Union.
The country gained independence from the UK in September 1964.