Malta and Ireland have once again registered the lowest divorce rate in the EU, with both member states only recording 0.7 divorces per 1,000 people according to the latest available data published by Eurostat. 

The data showed that the trend in the EU is that the number of marriages continues to decrease year by year while the rate of divorce continues to increase, Eurostat said. 

While Malta's rate was calculated on 2019 data, the most recent available data in Ireland is for 2017. 

Following Malta and Ireland, the lowest numbers of divorces were recorded in Slovenia (1.2 per 1,000 people), Italy (1.4 per 1,000 people) and Croatia 1.5 per 1,000 people), while the highest divorce rates were recorded in Latvia, Lithuania and Luxembourg, which all saw a rate of 3.1 divorces per 1,000 people. 

In contrast, the countries with the highest number of marriages relative to the population were Cyprus (8.9 marriages per 1,000 people) Lithuania (7 per 1,000 people) and Latvia and Hungary which each recording 6.7 marriages per 1,000 people. 

As well as having the lowest rate of divorce, Malta has the sixth highest rate of marriage in the EU, with 5.3 marriages every 1,000 people. 

The lowest marriage rate was reported in Italy, with only three marriages per 1,000 people, Portugal and Slovenia with 3.2 per 1,000 people, followed by France, Spain and Luxembourg which all had some 3.5 marriages per 1,000 people. 

In 2019, data revealed in parliament showed that civil marriages had outnumbered church marriages, with 1,423 civil ceremonies held compared to 1,129 Church weddings.

Malta introduced divorce legislation in 2011 following a referendum. Last December the law was changed to reduce the time a couple need to be separated be-fore being eligible for divorce. It was previously four years and it is now six months if the request is a joint one and one year if only one of the parties  requests it.

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