The Government and Politics of the European Union

Seventh edition

by Neill Nugent


Population 0.5 m
Capital Luxembourg (city-state)
Surface area 2,600 km2
Official Language Lëtzebuergesch, French and German
Gross domestic product (GDP) (in euros) 31.31 bn
GDP as a % of EU-27, based on 2009 data 0.3
GDP per capita by purchasing power standards (indexed to EU average of 100) 271.5
Currency Euro
Human development index (HDI), an index based on life expectancy, education and GDP (max. 1) 0.944
World rank in HDI 18/177
Key economic sectors (% of GDP in 2002) Services (78.9); industry (20.5); agriculture (0.6)
Unemployment in January 2010 5.9% (source:
Main religious denominations Roman Catholic (91% of the population according to the 2001 census)
Political system A constitutional monarchy The Chamber of Deputies has a maximum of 60 members elected for five years. The monarch appoints a Council of State of 21 members serving a maximum of 15 years, which advises on proposed laws but does not make them.
Electoral system Voting is compulsory. Seats in the Chamber of Deputies are allocated according to proportional representation from party lists.
Current (March 2010) leaders Prime minister: Jean-Claude Juncker (b. 1954), since January 1995
Previous leaders: Prime ministers: Jacques Santer (1984-95); Pierre Werner (1979-84); Gaston Thorn (1974-79)
Joined the EU/EC 1957 (founder member)
Commissioner from country in Barroso II College of Commissioners, and portfolio Vivian Reding (Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship, Vice-President of the Commission)
Number of MEPs 6/754
Turnout in 2009 EP elections (%) 91.0
Member of eurozone Yes (founder member)

Except where a specific reference is inserted, the sources for this profile are either Neill Nugent’s book itself, or Barry Turner (ed.), The Statesman’s Yearbook Online, Basingstoke and New York: Palgrave Macmillan. If your library subscribes, you can gain access at