Democracy and rights
The democratic institutions are solid in Luxembourg, which, like most of Western Europe, belongs to the countries ranked highest in the world in terms of political and civil rights. Electoral democracy is fully functioning.
Abbreviated as LUX by Abbreviationfinder, Luxembourg is ranked 9 out of 180 countries in Transparency International’s index of corruption (the full list is here). However, the country is regarded as a tax haven and some criticism has been directed at the lack of a coherent strategy to prevent corruption. There are also no rules regarding gifts, lobbying and conflicts of interest when a public person leaves his post.
- Countryaah: Offers a comprehensive list of airports in Luxembourg, including international airports with city located, size and abbreviation, as well as the biggest airlines.
Government members are required to declare possible ownership in companies, but nothing happens if they fail to cooperate. There is no effective legislation on access to information, and both media and citizen groups often find it difficult to access public government information.
Freedom of expression and media
The constitution guarantees freedom of the press and it is well respected. Residents are among the largest news consumers in the EU and confidence is high for the domestic media. Generous press support contributes to the strong newspaper market.
The well-known deal “Luxleaks” revealed how multinational companies avoid tax through their presence in Luxembourg and whistleblower Antoine Deltour admittedly fell, but he was clearly acknowledged by the court for the disclosure (see Calendar). It is seen as a good sign for continued freedom of expression.
In Reporters Without Borders Press Freedom Index, Luxembourg is ranked 17 out of 180 countries (see list here).
Judicial system and legal security
The judiciary works without political influence. Previously, the judges in the Supreme Court have been nominated by the Grand Duke, but it should now be done by a legal council, which is further considered to strengthen the court’s independence.
There are some problems with congestion and poor conditions in Luxembourg’s only prison.
Luxembourg receives a credit warning
The credit rating agency Moody’s warns that Luxembourg risks being downgraded from its highest credit rating, AAA. The background is the debt crisis in the euro zone and the country’s great dependence on the financial sector.
Gender-neutral succession comes into force
The rules for the succession are changed so that the regent’s oldest child becomes the heir to the throne, regardless of gender.
New Benelux agreement
A new agreement on political and economic cooperation comes into force, replacing the previous agreement of 1958. The agreement entails deeper cooperation between Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg in areas such as legal and trade matters. The former Benelux Economic Union now becomes the Benelux Union (see also Modern History).