Handbook on the Politics of Small States
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Handbook on the Politics of Small States

Edited by Godfrey Baldacchino and Anders Wivel

Comprehensive and timely, this Handbook identifies the key characteristics, challenges and opportunities involved in the politics of small states across the globe today. Acknowledging the historical legacies behind these states, the chapters unpack the costs and benefits of different political models for small states.
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Chapter 9: The non-identical Mediterranean island states: Cyprus and Malta

Roderick Pace


Cyprus and Malta are island states, among the smallest EU member states, both former colonies of Great Britain situated in the Mediterranean region, both non-NATO states and very open economies: they are often considered as identical twins. However, their divergent historical experiences, constitutions, economies and political systems make them two different states which need to be understood separately. As EU member states since 2004, they have shared some experiences but with different outcomes. After joining EMU in 2008, Cyprus faced major economic difficulties and had to be bailed out during the financial crisis while Malta sailed on almost unscathed. This chapter considers the salient differences and similarities in the two island states’ experiences by linking their history and domestic structures with their behaviour in world politics and the EU. The chapter also suggests the extent to which one can theorize about small state behaviour.

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