|Birth Day:||January 22, 1974|
|Birth Place:||Pieta, Malta|
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After earning a bachelor's degree in public policy and business management and a master's degree in European Studies from the University of Malta, he obtained a doctorate in management research from the University of Bristol.
Muscat was born on 22 January 1974, in Pietà, Malta, to a Burmarrad family. He is an only child. With his father a fireworks importer, Muscat constantly referred to his family roots when describing his aversion to bureaucracy that hinders business. Muscat is married to Michelle née Tanti and they are the parents of twins, Etoile Ella and Soleil Sophie.
He worked as a journalist with the Labour Party's media arm, and founded the Party's now defunct news portal maltastar.com. He also worked as a journalist with the party's radio station, Super One Radio. He later took on a similar role at Super One Television, becoming the station's assistant head of news in 1996. Muscat wrote a regular column in L-Orizzont, a Maltese-language newspaper published by the General Workers' Union and its sister Sunday weekly It-Torċa, and was a regular contributor to The Times, an independent newspaper published in Malta. Muscat also worked as an investment advisor in the private sector, and a market intelligence manager.
After staunchly campaigning against Malta's membership in the European Union, the Labour Party lost its second general election in a row. In 2003, Muscat was nominated to a working group led by George Vella and Evarist Bartolo on the Labour Party's policies on the European Union. This working group produced the document Il-Partit Laburista u l-Unjoni Ewropea: Għall-Ġid tal-Maltin u l-Għawdxin ('Labour Party and the European Union: For the benefit of the Maltese and the Gozitans') which was adopted by the Labour Party Extraordinary General Conference in November of that year. The working group was instrumental in changing the Labour Party's eurosceptic policies, leading it to embrace a pro-EU stance. At this General Conference, Muscat was approved as a candidate for the election to the European Parliament.
Despite having previously expressed opposition to Malta's entry into the European Union, Muscat was elected to the European Parliament in the 2004 European Parliament election. He was the Labour Party (formerly the Malta Labour Party) candidate who received the most first-preference votes. Sitting as a Member of the European Parliament, with the Party of European Socialists, he held the post of Vice-President of the Parliament's Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs and substitute member of the committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection. He was a member of a number of delegations for relations with Belarus and with the countries of south-east Europe. He was also a member of the EU-Armenia, EU-Azerbaijan and EU-Georgia Parliamentary Cooperation Committees. As an MEP he supported a reduction in the tax for satellite television, the right for customers to watch sport events for free, and a number of issues related to environmental protection in Malta. He formed part of a team responsible for a report on the roaming mobile phone bills and sale of banks.
In 2006, he was the recipient of the Outstanding Young Person of the Year. Muscat resigned his seat in the European Parliament in 2008 to take up a seat in the Maltese Parliament, and the role of Leader of the Opposition. Four months previously, he had been elected Leader of the Labour Party. Before his resignation, the European Parliament adopted his report proposing new regulations for the EU's financial services sector.
He graduated Bachelor of Commerce in Management and Public Policy (University of Malta, 1995), Bachelor of Arts with Honours in Public Policy (University of Malta, 1996), and Master of Arts in European Studies (University of Malta, 1997). In 2007, he attained a Doctorate of Philosophy in Management Research from the University of Bristol (UK) with a thesis on Fordism, multinationals and SMEs in Malta.
On 24 March 2008 Muscat announced his candidacy for the post of Party Leader, to replace Alfred Sant, who had resigned after a third consecutive defeat for the Party in the March 2008 general election and a heavy defeat in the EU referendum in March 2003.
Although at the time Muscat was not a member of the Maltese House of Representatives, he was elected as the new party leader on 6 June 2008. Muscat was just three votes short of winning the contest outright, obtaining 435 of the 874 valid votes cast, three fewer than the 438 needed (50 per cent plus one). He garnered 49.8 per cent of valid votes cast while the combined number of votes of the other contestants was 50.2 per cent. In order to take up the post of Leader of the Opposition, Muscat was co-opted in the Maltese Parliament on 1 October 2008 to fill the seat vacated by Joseph Cuschieri for the purpose. The latter eventually took up the sixth seat allocated to Malta in the European Parliament once the Treaty of Lisbon was brought into effect in 2011. On taking up the Leadership post, Muscat introduced a number of changes to the Party, notably the change of official name and party emblem. In the 2009 Maltese European Parliament Elections, the first with Muscat as Party Leader, Labour candidates obtained 55% of first-preferences against the 40% obtained by candidates of the Nationalist Party.
Muscat contested Malta's general elections for the first time in March 2013 and was elected on District 2 on the first count, with 13,968 votes and on District 4 again on the first count with 12,202 votes and 53% of the vote. On 11 March 2013 he was sworn in as Prime Minister of Malta. Following his election victory, Muscat was congratulated in a statement by the President of the European Commission, José Manuel Barroso, on behalf of the European Commission.
In 2014, Muscat's government introduced the Malta Individual Investor Programme, for which it contracted Henley & Partners. Through such programmes, applicants acquire Maltese citizenship against investing a minimum of 1 million EUR in the country. The citizenship-by-investment programme soon became a boon to Malta's economy, generating up to €163.5 million in revenues in 2016, which the government used to finance deficit spending. Muscat repeatedly defended such passport sale scheme, also presenting and promoting it personally at global Henley & Partners events in Dubai and elsewhere. Malta became an attractive location for foreign direct investment in financial services, online gaming, information technology, maritime and aviation hubs and high value-added manufacturing clusters. His administration led to large-scale changes to welfare with the introduction of social benefit tapering policies, increases in minimum wages, and introduced private sector involvement in healthcare.
On 7 April 2014, Muscat suffered from temporary blindness caused by UV radiation, probably related to burns to his cornea. Like 60 other people with similar symptoms, he had participated at a political rally the day before.
In 2016, two of Muscat's close collaborators were implicated in the Panama Papers, holding two companies in that jurisdiction. These were Konrad Mizzi, a minister, and Keith Schembri, the Prime Minister's chief of staff. In 2017 journalist and blogger Daphne Caruana Galizia alleged that Muscat's wife held a third company in Panama named Egrant. Opposition Leader Simon Busuttil made his own allegations of significant money transfers into Egrant. Muscat and his wife Michelle denied the claims and Muscat requested an independent magisterial inquiry, calling the allegations as the ‘biggest political lie in Malta’s political history’. Muscat insisted that truth was on his side, and that he wanted to protect Malta from uncertainty, and called a general election. Corruption became the battlecry for the Nationalist Party in the general election campaign. Holding a snap election in the last months of Malta's rotating presidency of the EU Council was looked at with scepticism in Brussels.
In October 2017, investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia died in a car bomb attack. Muscat promised to "leave no stone unturned" in the subsequent investigation. The opposition blamed Muscat for what they deemed a "political murder" and for the collapse of the rule of law in the country. In the following two years, Muscat spoke very sparingly of the Caruana Galizia case and of the periodic protests that took place in Valletta. Government employees were tasked with clearing a makeshift memorial to Caruana Galizia at the Great Siege Monument in Valletta on a regular basis.
The magisterial inquiry led by Magistrate Aaron Bugeja interviewed 477 witnesses. International forensic experts sifted through thousands of documents and digital records from multiple sources. The inquiry required the collaboration of five nations (including Panama and Germany) and spanned over 15 months. The results of the inquiry were made public on 22 July 2018 (though the inquiry final report was never published for public scrutiny). The inquiry found falsified signatures, differing testimonies and no proof that the Prime Minister, his wife, or their family had a connection with the company. The inquiry found no evidence linking the Prime Minister and his wife to the Panama company. Muscat defined the Egrant allegations as an "undisputed and elaborate" attempt at a political frame up.
Around the 2019 European elections, Muscat was touted for an EU job, possibly as successor to Donald Tusk as head of the European Council. His bid failed. While he had been a frontrunner to succeed Tusk back in 2017, in 2019 his image was tainted by the Caruana Galizia murder and the multiple reports of European institutions warning about the erosion of the rule of law in Malta.
In late November 2019, Muscat's premiership was rocked by the arrest of prominent businessman Yorgen Fenech and the implication of Muscat's chief of staff Keith Schembri. On 25 November 2019, after protestors had called for him to resign, Muscat autonomously decided to grant presidential pardon to Melvin Theuma, considered the middleman between the executors of Caruana Galizia's murder, and the masterminds. On 29 November, after a six-hours cabinet meeting, Muscat denied the same presidential pardon to Yorgen Fenech. The same day Muscat informed the President of Malta George Vella that he would soon be resigning his duties as Prime Minister.
On 1 December he announced that he would step down from his position as Prime Minister, after a PL leadership contest. Both Malta's main newspapers, The Times of Malta and Malta Today, as well as international media such as The Guardian called on Muscat to make his resignation immediate. The European Parliament also called for Muscat to immediately quit over the Caruana Galizia murder. National protests were held calling for his immediate resignation, rather than stepping down in January 2020. The Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project named Muscat "Man of the Year in Organized Crime and Corruption" for 2019 for the increases in criminality and lack of prosecutions during his term.
Currently, Joseph Muscat is 47 years, 6 months and 3 days old. Joseph Muscat will celebrate 48th birthday on a Saturday 22nd of January 2022.
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