Malta has not developed a whole-of-government approach (WGA) regarding external conflicts and crises, and there are several likely reasons for this. The first is that the concept is new in the sense that, until recently, international crises have been seen as falling almost exclusively in the domain of foreign affairs, with the result that they were primarily handled by diplomatic bodies. During its entire post-independence period, Malta was mainly preoccupied with its own security and building its statehood.
Malta’s small size, its population of less than half a million (Eurostat 2019), its limited resources and its policy of neutrality and non-alignment during the Cold War further accentuated this approach of standing on the sidelines, so to speak. However, since becoming an EU member state, new opportunities have arisen for Malta to participate in regional and global efforts. Historically, it has tended to become more involved (though to varying degrees) in crises occurring in the Mediterranean region and whose consequences have a direct impact on its security and well-being. An example of this was Malta’s role during the 2011 civil war in Libya.
In general, Malta prefers to act through EU-led initiatives (e.g. CSDP missions) rather than through UN-led ones, as exemplified by its participation in UNIFIL (Lebanon) and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).