Britain Is World’s 7th Most Stable and Prosperous Nation

Michael Evans, London Times, March 25, 2008

The United Kingdom has been ranked as one of the most stable and prosperous countries in the world, beating the United States, France and even Switzerland in a global assessment of every nation’s achievements and standards.

A one-year investigation and analysis of 235 countries and dependent territories has put the UK joint seventh in the premier league of nations. The top ten comprise also the Vatican, Sweden, Luxembourg, Monaco, Gibraltar, San Marino, Liechtenstein, the Netherlands and the Irish Republic.

The US lies 22nd and Switzerland, normally associated with wealth and untouchable stability, is rated 17th, losing points in the assessment of its social achievements.

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The bottom ten, surprisingly, do not include Iraq. They are listed as Gaza and the West Bank, Somalia, Sudan, Afghanistan, Ivory Coast, Haiti, Zimbabwe, Chad, the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Central African Republic.

The UK received high marks despite the deployment of combat troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, the suicide bombings in London on July 7, 2005, the continuing threat from home-grown terrorists and the collapse of the Northern Rock bank.

The global check on every country recognised as an individual state or territory by the United Nations was carried out by Jane’s Information Group and is published today.

Christian Le Mière, managing editor of Jane’s Country Risk, which compiled the ratings, said: “The UK is a very stable country. But the top 20 or 30 countries are all stable. There are terrorist groups in the UK but there are effective security forces to deal with them. We took the July 7 bombings into account but the UK still came out very well.”

He acknowledged that it was a little unfair to put the Vatican at the top because it did not face the sort of threats and economic pressures of other countries. But under the rating system, which took into account each nation’s political structures, social and economic trends, military and security risks and external relations, the Vatican state scored an average of 99 out of 100. Sweden and Luxembourg were also rated 99, with the UK not far off, with an average of 97, but scoring 100 for its politics, economics and external relations.

Mr Le Mière said that the US had fallen down the scale, although it still scored an average of 93 out of 100, partly because of the proliferation of small arms owned by Americans and the threat to the population posed by the flow of drugs from across the Mexican border.

He explained that Iraq had managed to escape the ignominy of being in the bottom ten because, despite “extremely high levels of violence”, it had a “relatively stable Government” that controlled a significant area of the country and had good economic prospects. “Unlike Afghanistan, where – despite the presence of more than 40,000 foreign troops – the Government exercises poor control over large parts of the country and where 50 per cent of the economy is dependent on the opium trade,” he said.

Mr Le Mière gave warning of worrying trends in Africa where, he said, there was likely to be a struggle for resources. He added that it was the first time that a rating system for countries had been carried out on such a grand scale. The Jane’s system differed from government assessments of country risk because it was based entirely on objective analysis, “with no politicisation of the intelligence”, he said.

Most stable:

Every country has been given a risk rating out of 100 for all-round stablilty

1. Vatican 99

2. Sweden 99

3. Luxembourg 99

4. Monaco 98

5. Gibraltar 98

6. San Marino 98

7. Liechtenstein 97

8. United Kingdom 97

9. The Netherlands 97

10. Irish Republic 97

US: 22nd equal 93

Most unstable:

Central African Republic 39

Democratic Congo 38

Chad 38

Zimbabwe 38

Haiti 38

Ivory Coast 36

Afghanistan 36

Sudan 35

Somalia 29

Gaza and West Bank 27

Iraq: 10th equal from bottom, with 44 points.


A one-year investigation and analysis of 235 countries by Jane’s Information Services has put the UK joint seventh in the premier league of nations with the US at 22nd and Switzerland, normally associated with wealth and untouchable stability, is rated 17th.

Here is the full list:

1 Vatican

2 Sweden

3 Luxembourg

4 Monaco

5 Gibraltar

6 San Marino

7 Liechtenstein

8 UK

9 Netherlands

10 Ireland

11 New Zealand

12 Denmark

13 Austria

14 Andorra

15 Germany

16 Iceland

17 Switzerland

18 Portugal

19 Australia

20 Norway

21 Malta

22 France

23 Canada

24 USA

25 Belgium

26 Spain

27 Italy

28 Japan

29 Finland

30 Czech Rep

31 Samoa

32 Falkland Islands

33 Singapore

34 Guam

35 Slovakia

36 Anguilla

37 Cyprus

38 Qatar

39 Montserrat

40 Costa Rica

41 Greece

42 St Pierre and Miq

43 UAE

44 Cayman Islands

45 American Samoa

46 Virgin Islands (UK)

47 Poland

48 St Lucia

49 Oman

50 Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands

(from Jane’s Information Services)

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