Luxembourg Current Affairs - 2019

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Henley Passport Index

The Henley Passport Index measures the access each country’s travel document affords. The Index is based on the data provided by the International Air Transport Authority (IATA) and covers 199 passports and 227 travel destinations.

Ranking of the Jurisdictions

The Rankings of the jurisdictions based on the rankings in the Henley Passport Index are:

  • Japan retained its top spot as the world’s most travel-friendly passport due to the document’s access to 190 jurisdictions.
  • South Korea and Singapore are at joint second position offering access to 189 jurisdictions.
  • China has jumped almost 20 places in just two years, from 85th in 2017 to 69th this year.
  • India jumped two positions from 81st in 2018 to 79th this year.
  • European Union member states along with Norway and the US occupy the places behind the top three nations in the rankings.
  • The rankings of the USA and UK have continued to drop.
  • The top 5 positions are held by Japan (190 countries), Singapore, South Korea (189), France, Germany (188), Denmark, Finland, Italy, Sweden (187), and Luxembourg, Spain (186)
  • The bottom 5 positions are held by Eritrea (38), Yemen (37), Pakistan (33), Somalia, Syria (32)and Afghanistan, Iraq (30).

Observations

Christian Kalin, Chairman of the Henley & Partners’ Group who is also the creator of the index notes that the ranking is a bright spot in an increasingly isolationist world.

Open-door policies have the potential to contribute billions to the global economy, as well as create significant employment opportunities around the world. The ascent in the rankings of South Korea and the United Arab Emirates are examples of what happens when countries take a proactive foreign affairs approach, an attitude which significantly benefits their citizens as well as the international community.

Sylvie Lucas appointed as Chair of IGN of UNSC Reforms

Luxembourg envoy to the United Nations (UN) Sylvie Lucas has been appointed as the next chair of the Inter-Governmental Negotiations (IGN) of UN Security Council Reforms.

She was appointed by 70th UN General Assembly session President Morgens Lykketoft and replaced Jamaican Ambassador to UN Courtenay Rattray.

Her appointment comes ahead of the next round of negotiations UNSC Reforms to be held in UNGA after negotiating text was tabled in UNGA.

Background

  • The 69th session of UNGA (President Sam Kutesa) had achieved a breakthrough in the UNSC reform process by adopting a negotiating text in September 2015.
  • The text contained: Proposals and positions of various UN members on expansion of the council.
  • Positions of various UN members on the distribution and expansion of permanent and non-permanent seats of the UNSC along with their proposals for use of the veto power.

Luxembourg had served as a non-permanent member of the 15 nation UNSC for year 2013-14. It is also part of the BENELUX countries comprising Belgium, Netherlands and Luxembourg which are supporting UNSC reforms.