Portugal among safest and most peaceful
Portugal is one of the most peaceful countries in the world, having climbed to third in the latest rankings. This comes as latest statistics show crime in Portugal has been dropping extensively since 2008, making it one of the safest countries in the world.
Portugal has moved up two positions to third in the overall Global Peace Index ranking, thereby consolidating its standing as one of the most peaceful countries in the world.
The country had last year already recorded an impressive showing when it was placed fifth on the list.
The Global Peace Index ranks 163 countries according to their domestic and international conflicts, safety and security and degree of militarisation.
It found 93 had improved, while 68 had deteriorated, and overall peace levels had inched up 0.28 percent.
The report, produced by Australian think-tank the Institute for Economics and Peace, found a decline in peacefulness over the 10-year period since 2008.
The most peaceful country in the world is Iceland, which has retained its place at the top of the index since 2008. The other nations in the top five are New Zealand, Portugal, Austria and Denmark.
There was little change in the scores of the most war-torn countries, with Syria remaining the least peaceful, followed by Afghanistan, Iraq, South Sudan and Yemen.
Six of the index’s nine geographical regions recorded improvements, which led to the first increase in global peace levels since 2014.
The biggest regional deterioration was seen in North America. This was largely as a result of the polarising US presidential election.
Although the period of the report excludes recent terrorist attacks in Europe, notably in the UK and France, Europe remains the most peaceful region in the world.
The report noted that the economic impact of violence on the global economy was $14.3 trillion in purchasing power parity terms – equivalent to 12.6 percent of the world’s GDP.
Portugal moved to third position, its highest ranking since the inception of the index, a notable improvement given that it was ranked 16th less than five years ago. Portugal has improved on12 of the 23 GPI indicators during this time, most notably on weapons imports and violent demonstrations.
This year, aside from a rise in weapons imports (the main negative contributor to the score), and in the number of internal security officers and police per 100,000 people, all other indicators either improved or remained flat.
Volume of transfers of major conventional weapons, as recipient, per 100,000 people fell strongly, representing the main improvement to the overall score.
This was followed by an improvement in the number, duration and role in external conflicts, likelihood of violent demonstrations and political terror scores. The number of homicides per 100,000 people and political instability scores also improved.
Internal stability has been aided by a gradual recovery from a fiscal crisis; Portugal exited its fiscal assistance programme in 2014, although there is continued pressure from the EU to achieve fiscal consolidation.
Budget constraints have consequently led to a winding-down of military operations abroad as well as in the size of and funding for the armed forces. As a result, Portugal is among the highest ranked countries in the domain of Militarisation. This, along with a steady economic recovery, will be supportive of peace going forward.
This comes after Portugal was said to be one of the safest countries in the world, helping it attract foreign investors to these shores.
According to Home Minister Constança Urbano de Sousa, Portugal has recorded a sustained reduction in crime figures since 2008. The Minister said general crime has dropped by 21 percent the past ten years, while serious crimes are down 32 percent. She also revealed that initial numbers for the first half of 2017 show that crime has dropped by around ten percent on last year.
Meanwhile, Portugal has been rated as one of the top three expat destinations in the world when it comes to the general living experience in the country.
According to the latest HSBC Expat Explorer survey, Portugal was placed third in the Experience league table, just behind New Zealand and Spain.
Portugal was particularly lauded by expats for their healthy lifestyles.
Almost three-fifths of expats in Portugal (57 percent) say their physical health is better as a result of the move, compared to a global average of 36 percent.
Overall, Singapore was once again rated by expats as the best country in the world to live and work, followed by Norway, which rose four places to come second.
The survey was completed by 27,587 expats from 159 countries and territories through an online questionnaire in March and April 2017, conducted by YouGov and commissioned by HSBC Expat.