Malta is a touristic haven but certainly not a tax haven, according to French President François Hollande, who is satisfied with its “strong” banking system.

“We see it is a system that is properly regulated and there is no apparent risk... and if you’re suggesting there may be a parallel with other countries this is not the case,” Mr Hollande said, discarding any comparisons between the banking structures of Malta and Cyprus.

“Malta wants to play its full role in the banking union... it is important that this is introduced within the agreed timeframe to protect savers and investors and ensure there is sufficient support and trust in our banking systems.”