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Less than half of European Union countries are “fully democratic” according to the Economist Intelligence Unit’s 2017 index on the state of democracy worldwide.

The rating is given out of ten with eight and above ranking as “full democracy”, six to eight as “flawed democracy”, four to six as “hybrid regime” and zero to four as “authoritarian regime”.

Each country is classified into one of four types of regimes according to the scores in these categories: electoral process and pluralism, civil liberties, the functioning of government, political participation, and political culture.

How did the EU rank in the report?
The report ranked 11 EU countries as “full democracies” and the rest of the member states as “flawed democracies”.

All the Scandinavian countries made it into the “full democracies” category with Sweden taking the third spot. The first two places were given to countries in the European Economic Area — Norway took the top spot for the second year in a row and Iceland came in second. The rest of the countries in this category were western European countries. Malta and Spain were the only countries from southern Europe to make it into the top ranking.

Most of the EU countries that were ranked as “flawed democracies” are in eastern Europe. Romania was given the lowest ranking in all of the EU at number 64. The Balkan countries, as well as the rest of southern Europe — Italy, Cyprus, Greece, and Portugal — were also in this category.

Eastern Europe has traditionally scored low in the Democracy Index. This is partly due to the region’s “weak political culture, chaotic transition to democracy, and difficulty at safeguarding the law and corruption,” according to the report.

None of the countries in the EU were ranked as “hybrid regime” or “authoritarian regime”.

European Union rankings by regime type
Full Democracies

  • Sweden
  • Denmark
  • Ireland
  • Finland
  • Netherlands
  • Luxembourg
  • Germany
  • United Kingdom
  • Austria
  • Malta
  • Spain

Flawed Democracies

  • Italy
  • Portugal
  • France
  • Estonia
  • Belgium
  • Czech Republic
  • Cyprus
  • Slovenia
  • Lithuania
  • Greece
  • Latvia
  • Slovakia
  • Bulgaria
  • Poland
  • Hungary
  • Croatia
  • Romania

Three EU members — Malta, Spain, and France — had the steepest score declines in 2017.

Democracy Index 2018


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