Malta's parliament is expected to pass civil union legislation today, Europe Online reports:
The opposition Nationalist Party is expected to abstain from the vote, primarily because the legislation gives gay couples the right to adopt.
Prime Minister Joseph Muscat described the change as a very important moment for Malta.
"This is the essence of equality, the apex of European values. It also shows that with political will, even a conservative society can boldly transform itself," Muscat told dpa.
Malta's population is heavily Catholic and extremely conservative.