In this top group, governments consult widely and consistently with outside groups in the development of proposals, often helping to develop support for policy.
Finland and Norway are traditionally consensus-oriented societies, with interest organizations, particularly trade unions and business groups, playing an active role in the legislative process. Corporatist models in Switzerland, Austria, Denmark and Sweden historically involve outside groups closely, but these processes are being transformed by globalization.
In the USA, outside interests play an active, often combative lobbying and support-mobilization role, with no consensus expected.
In this group, consultation with outside groups is common if sometimes selective, with considerable success in facilitating policy support.
Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Belgium, the Czech Republic and Poland have institutionalized structures to engage with outside interests, typically focusing on labor and employers’ groups. In the group’s remaining states, consultation is less formalized but remains frequent.
The financial crisis proved damaging to consensus models in Luxembourg, Iceland and Spain, but Poland’s government successfully used its Tripartite Council to negotiate a crisis response, earning it this criterion’s most-improved position relative to the SGI 2009.
Japan’s government shift has increased labor unions’ voice, while unions are losing influence in Canada. Interest group leadership in Mexico is not always representative of organizations’ broader membership, lending an element of uncertainty to consultation.
In this group, government consultation with outside groups is not a routine or deeply influential part of the policy-making process, or formerly strong models have broken down.
In Germany, policy-makers meet with outside groups, but do not use institutionalized channels to win support for policies. France’s Sarkozy has tried to involve interest groups in reform projects, but consultation traditions are weak.
In Turkey, Hungary and Italy, institutions or practices meant to facilitate support have not been widely used. In Portugal, the government’s willingness to compromise has grown since the SGI 2009, while Slovakia’s leadership treated most outside organizations as opponents.
The financial collapse brought a painful end to decades of amicable social partnership in Ireland, with government, labor and employers unable to agree on crisis response measures.