The German and Finish passports have resulted to be the most powerful travel documents in the continent of Europe, and the fourth most powerful in the world.
According to the latest update of the Henley Passport Index, Germany and Finland are not only Europe’s most powerful, but they are also the second most powerful documents in the world, both sharing the second spot with South Korea.
Japanese and Singaporean passports world’s most powerful, since their holders can have access to 189 world countries visa-free, or by getting an e-visa or visa-on-arrival. On the other hand, South Korean, German and Finnish passport holders can travel to 187 countries without going through all the procedures of getting a visa sticker.
Other EU and Schengen countries are next, with Denmark, Italy and Luxembourg placed third, France Sweden and Spain listed fourth, and Austria, Netherlands, Portugal, and Switzerland sharing the fifth position.
While in the past the US and the UK have been listed among the first three positions, now both are placed in the 6th, with their citizens having access to 183 countries visa-free or with an e-visa/visa-on-arrival.
According to a press release by Henley Global on the Henley Passport Index rankings, the upcoming Brexit has already affected the position of the UK in this list, though it is unknown what further consequences the divorce between the EU and the UK will have for the latter.
“Throughout most of the index’s long history, the UK has held one of the top five places in the ranking. However, with its exit from the EU now imminent, and coupled with ongoing confusion about the terms of its departure, the UK’s once-strong position looks increasingly uncertain. The Brexit process has not yet had a direct impact on the UK’s ranking, but new research using exclusive historical data from the Henley Passport Index indicates that this could change, with consequences that extend beyond a decline in passport power,” the press release reads.
Political science researchers Uğur Altundal and Ömer Zarpli, of Syracuse University and the University of Pittsburgh respectively, observe that the prospect of visa-waiver agreements with the EU has encouraged neighboring countries to adopt important reforms in areas such as civil and political rights, rule of law, and security.
They also note that freedom of movement appears to be a vital pre-condition not only for economic growth but also for social integration and progressive political change.