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21.11.2019 Europe

It's good to be French

Benoit Tessier/REUTERS
NOV 21, 2019 EUROPE

For the eighth year in succession, France has topped the Quality of Nationality Index, a list of all countries in terms of the opportunities and limitations which they offer their citizens.

The French can take satisfaction that their nationality has once again been ranked as the best in the world, while for citizens of the UK, the ramifications of a "hard" Brexit could well sink the quality of their nationality from 8th globally, to 56th (the current position of China).

This is according to the latest findings of the Kälin and Kochenov's Quality of Nationality Index (QNI), which is the only ranking that objectively measures and ranks all the world's nationalities as legal statuses. 

Holding the top spot for eight consecutive years, France's ranking of 83.5 out of 100 was less than a point ahead of Germany and the Netherlands, which shared second place.

The report's authors, Dr Christian H. Kaelin and Professor Dr Dimitry Kochenov, say that France's comparative advantage lies in its greater settlement freedom – a measure of the ease with which French nationals can choose other places to live.

Denmark and Norway came in joint third, followed by Sweden, Iceland, Finland, Italy, the UK, Ireland and Spain to complete the top ten.

Quality is not the same as prestige
The authors explain that both the internal value (economic opportunities, human development, peace and stability) and the external value (including the number and quality of visa-free possible destinations) of all the nationalities of the world are measured.

They add the interesting sidelight that the quality of nationalities is not correlated with the prestige of the issuing states.

The US occupies 25th place on the QNI with a score of 70.0 percent. The country's relatively poor standing is primarily due to its low settlement freedom compared to EU member states.

China's 56th spot is a four-place improvement on last year. The Russian Federation climbed 2 positions to 62nd.

The bottom three nationalities are South Sudan (157th), Afghanistan (158th), and Somalia (159th), with respective scores of 15.9 percent, 15.4 percent, and 13.8 percent.