To what extent is the government able to collaborate effectively with international efforts to foster global public goods?

The government can take a leading role in shaping and implementing collective efforts to provide global public goods. It is able to ensure coherence in national policies affecting progress.
For a small country, Denmark has a strong role in the provision of the global public good and Danish politicians are proud to promote Danish values internationally.

Climate change and development aid are high on the domestic agenda, and the government tries to play an active international role in these areas. Denmark also has a long tradition of working to strengthen the United Nations. Denmark is among the countries that contribute the highest percentage of GDP to development aid.

As an EU member state, Denmark’s possibilities increasingly depend on the European Union. Since the European Union in recent years has adopted a relatively “progressive” environmental policy and has tried to exercise international leadership, there is no conflict in this area.

There is a long tradition for Nordic cooperation within various policy areas. The Nordic Council of Ministers is the official inter-governmental body for cooperation in the Nordic region. The council takes various initiatives and there are regular council meetings were representatives of the Nordic governments meet to draft Nordic conventions and other agreements.
Carsten Due-Nielsen and Nikolaj Petersen, eds., Adaptation and Activism: The Foreign Policy of Denmark 1967-1993. Copenhagen, DJØF Publishing, 1995.

Martin Marcussen, Den danske model og globaliseringen. Frederiksberg: Samfundslitteratur, 2010.

Kristian Fischer and Hans Mouritzen (eds.) Danish Foreign Policy Yearbook 2017. Copenhagen: Danish Institute for International Studies, 2017.
The German government actively collaborates in various reform efforts promoted by the European Union and other transnational and international organizations. In the context of euro zone debt crisis, the German government has played a leading role in organizing and creating stabilization mechanisms. The government strongly cooperated with European partners, particularly France and other countries, such as the United States, and international organizations in addressing the Crimea crisis and civil war in eastern Ukraine. Moreover, Germany has had a significant role in achieving a consensus at the Paris Climate Summit in November 2015. Regarding migration, Germany has also tried to find more comprehensive European solutions, although with limited success. During the summer 2018, the Merkel government started to arrange new agreements for the return of migrants and refugees with important European countries (e.g., Greece, Spain and Italy), and with some non-European states bordering the Mediterranean Sea (e.g., Morocco, Tunisia and Libya).

Generally, Germany is a constructive partner in international reform initiatives, and is ready to accept substantial costs and risks in order to realize global and European public goods.
New Zealand
Given New Zealand’s small population and geopolitical isolation, it has been surprisingly successful at participating proactively in many international organizations and in the international coordination of joint reform initiatives. Major areas include issues regarding the antarctic region, disarmament and proliferation, environmental protection and human rights. New Zealand is a member of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum, the Commonwealth, the OECD, the United Nations and the World Trade Organization. Free trade is a central preoccupation within foreign relations, especially in the Asian region. Having signed the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)-Australia-New Zealand agreement and a bilateral agreement with Malaysia and Korea in recent years, current efforts are directed at deepening its “comprehensive strategic partnership” with China and continuing negotiations with India and Russia. In June 2017, New Zealand launched free trade agreement negotiations with the Pacific Alliance (Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru). New Zealand has been an enthusiastic supporter of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement. The newly elected Labour-led government was immediately faced with how it should respond to efforts to create TPP-11 out of the ruins of the TPP. The choice was between ill-informed statements to the electorate and continuity with the policy analysis that had informed the previous government. The latter prevailed, which implies that continuity will be characteristic of policy choices in general. In March 2018, Trade Minister Parker stated her government’s intention of ratifying the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, an amended version of the TPP (TPP-11). New Zealand First’s preference for a free trade agreement (FTA) with Russia has been quietly marginalized as Prime Minister Ardern and Trade Minister David Parker have talked up a potential FTA with the European Union. New Zealand has been very active in campaigning for a humanitarian response to the situation in Syria and has signed the UN Migration Pact.
Editorial: Brexit begins and NZ has work to do. New Zealand Herald. 30 March 2017 ( (accessed January 16, 2018).
Hawke, Gary 2018. New rhetoric but old policy for New Zealand.
Ayson, Robert 2018. New Zealand’s unusual coalition survives in a febrile world.
Sweden has maintained a rather high international profile on a number of issues requiring international collective action. These issues have traditionally included disarmament, human rights, international solidarity and more recently, climate change and a feminist approach to international relations and peacekeeping.

Sweden tends to look at itself as an international broker and coordinator, though it may exaggerate its capacity in this regard. Certainly, Sweden, together with several other smaller nations, exerts some degree of international influence through “soft power.”
Aggestam, K. and A. Towns (2018), “The Gender Turn in Diplomacy: A new research agenda,” International Feminist Journal of Politics (DOI: 10.1080/14616742.2018.1483206).

Ingebritsen, C. (2006). Scandinavia in World Politics (Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield).

Pierre, J. (ed) (2015) Oxford Handbook of Swedish Politics (Oxford: Oxford University Press).
The government is largely able to shape and implement collective efforts to provide global public goods. Existing processes enabling the government to ensure coherence in national policies affecting progress are, for the most part, effective.
Typically, global public goods are best addressed collectively, on a multilateral basis, with cooperation in the form of international laws, agreements and protocols. Finland is a partner to several such modes of cooperation and contributes actively to the implementation of several global frameworks. Finland is committed to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, Kyoto Protocol and EU legislation in its climate policy. The Ministry of the Environment is responsible for coordinating climate negotiations, and specifically, within the framework of the European Union, Finland is committed to bringing down its national annual average carbon emissions. In 2017, Finland assumed the two-year chair of the Arctic Council, announcing her commitment to promote prosperity, development and environmental sustainability in the Arctic region. In 2016, Finland held the presidency of the Nordic Council of Ministers and the presidency of the Nordic Council in 2017. These and other commitments notwithstanding, Finland cannot be regarded a dominant actor protecting global public goals. Given its relatively high level of knowledge, research capacities, and the existence of frameworks for policy coordination and monitoring, Finland does have the institutional capacities to participate in global governance. However, the capacities are not utilized to their fullest extent.
France plays an active role in the international coordination of joint reform initiatives. The country contributes to the provision of global public goods. It has a long tradition of acting on an international level to take part in security/military missions, combat climate change (e.g., hosting the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris (COP 21)), provide humanitarian and development aid, and promote health, education programs and fiscal cooperation. This being said, the French government, as other governments, often takes positions that advance French (economic) interests.

Striking examples are the French government’s attitude toward free trade discussions, in particular, concerning agricultural products and environmental issues, such as air and water pollution, where France has failed to implement supranational recommendations at the national level. On development assistance, there is still a big gap between official commitments and actual spending (0.37% instead of 0.70% of gross national product in 2015, according to the OECD).

Concerning the European Monetary Union, French proposals contribute to defining EU policies and often serve as a basis for compromise. However, the credibility of these initiatives was damaged by the French government’s inability to respect common rules France had signed, such as the stability rules of the EMU. This considerably limited the government’s success in steering or influencing decision-making at the European level, with France lacking credibility and political support.

President Macron has adopted a fundamentally different method. Having led an openly pro-European presidential campaign, Macron has declared his full commitment to EU rules, as well as his willingness to reduce the government’s budget deficits and realize structural reforms. In doing so, he seeks not only to enhance the country’s competitiveness but also to regain lost confidence and credibility in Europe, which is seen as a prerequisite for France’s EU partners to seriously consider his ambitious ideas on European renewal and further integration. Under Macron, France has shown a new willingness and capacity to contribute to the European Union. However, this impulse has produced few concrete results given the current crisis in European and national governance systems. On crucial matters, France finds it difficult to gain sufficient support for its proposals. For example, Macron’s ambitious EMU reform plans have met strong opposition from eight northern and northeastern EMU countries.
Luxembourg is mainly involved in international reform initiatives in cooperation with the European Union. The legal framework for the launch of the European Citizens’ Initiative was passed by the parliament in 2012.

Luxembourg ranks highly within the European Union for the inclusiveness of its welfare benefits, as its programs are both generous and wide-ranging. However, with a normalized Gini index value of 31 in 2016 (2015: 28.5), Luxembourg is only a middling performer within the EU-28 (which has an average Gini index value of 30.8). The generous social transfers (47% of public expenditure in 2017) and the high share of social transfers in relation to total income, not only reduce poverty risks, but also sustainably strengthen social cohesion.

However, Luxembourg also retains a number of labor-market protection measures and unsustainable pension policies; both provide incentives to leave the labor market early and opt instead for replacement revenues. Attitudes of the insured – mainly residents and nationals – are partly still those of consumers of welfare provisions. The system’s main weakness is the “early exit” attitude which is expressed by many residents.
Fusco, Alessio, et al.: Gini Country Report Luxembourg. Gini Growing Inequalities’ Impacts, 2013. Accessed 21 Feb. 2017.

“Gini coefficient of equivalized disposable income.” Eurostat, Accessed 21 Dec. 2017.

“Mémorial A n° 61 de 2012.” Journal officiel du Grand-Duché de Luxembourg, 29 March 2012. Accessed 21 Feb. 2017.

National plan for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth – Luxembourg 2020. Le gouvernement du Grand-Duché de Luxembourg, 2017. Accessed 14 Dec 2017.

“Observatoire de la compétitivité.” Le portal de l’actualité gouvermentale. Accessed 21 Feb. 2017.
Norway is a small state dependent on a stable and predictable international order. Over time, Norway has invested significantly in the development of a fair international framework. Norway is active in several international cooperation arrangements, including the United Nations and OECD, and cooperates closely with the European Union. Norway is very diligent in adopting EU legislation. The country is not an EU member state, but still participates in most forms of EU policy coordination as a member of the European Economic Area, with certain exceptions in the areas of agriculture and fisheries. In addition, Norway has numerous agreements with the European Union in the field of internal and external security. However, while the agreements with the European Union are seen as important, they do not give Norway a role in EU decision-making or policy formulation.

Norway has been an active participant in and promoter of various international conventions, forums and activities. Areas of particular interest have been human rights, development and peace. Relative to its size, Norway is a founding member of NATO, and an active member of several international organizations, such as the IMF, the United Nations and the World Bank. The country participates in the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) and the Kimberley Initiative on so-called blood diamonds. Norway actively encourages developing countries to join the EITI and is one of four contributors to the World Bank Special Trust Fund tasked with assisting with the fund’s implementation. Norway also supports the initiative on climate risk financial disclosure.

Current geopolitical tensions and increased pressure on international institutions and norms represent a challenge for Norwegian foreign policy. In an age of increased power politics, it is to be expected that smaller states will play a less influential role in shaping global developments.
Although Portugal is small, relatively poor and not very influential as a nation, it is a member of the European Union, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, the Council of Europe, NATO, OECD, the World Trade Organization and the Community of Portuguese Language Countries (Comunidade dos Países de Língua Portuguesa, CPLP), among other groups. It works actively with other nations through these organizations to develop policies. Given the country’s size and importance, it collaborates quite effectively in shaping and implementing collective efforts to provide global public goods.

Portugal “punches well above its weight” in military diplomacy through participation in peacekeeping and humanitarian relief programs under the auspices of the European Union, the UN and NATO. It must also be noted that the previous president of the European Commission (José Manuel Durão Barroso) and the current secretary-general of the United Nations, António Guterres, are Portuguese, both having been prime ministers of the country.

The Costa government continues to seek to increase the country’s influence in terms of shaping the European Union’s future. The nomination of Minister of Finance Centeno to the presidency of the Eurogroup is a reflection of this. In addition, António Costa was ranked ninth in the Politico “28 Class of 2018,” which lists “the 28 people who are shaping, shaking and stirring Europe.”
Politico, “28 Class of 2018 – The ranking,” available online at:
The year 2018 was an important one with regard to Spain’s efforts to contribute actively to international efforts to foster the provision of global public goods. The country continued to participate in these efforts as one of the leading EU member states (with the new Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez acting proactively at the European Council) and as a permanent guest at the G-20 summits; however, Spain also began its mandate as a member of the UN’s Human Rights Council for the 2018 – 2020 period. The national government has contributed to international forums and actions responding to challenges including climate change (through the COP), energy supply, financial stability, illegal migration (as a signatory to the Global Compact and several bilateral agreements), terrorism, and peacekeeping (troops deployed in UN, NATO and EU missions). In June 2018, a High Commissioner for the 2030 Agenda, linked to the prime minister, was created to coordinate line ministries on issues related to fulfilling the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. During the period under review, Prime Minister Sanchez tried to find a common European answer to dealing with the migration challenge, although Spain had previously played only a very small role in addressing the post-2015 refugee crisis. However, Spanish governments can work harder to shape global governance and to ensure that global issues have been systematically assessed and incorporated into the formulation, coordination and monitoring of internal policies.
October 2017, Agencia EFE: “Spain gets seat on UN Human Rights Council” orld/spain-gets-seat-on-un-human-ri ghts-council/50000262-3409912

Council on foreign relations, A Conversation with Pedro Sánchez -
Australia’s comparatively small population and economy, isolated geographic location and status as a South Pacific regional power has tended to work against the country’s ability to influence global reform efforts. Nonetheless, there is a governmental culture of seeking to participate in international forums or organizations, including those focused on reform. Primary emphasis tends to be on the Asia-Pacific region, although Australia is also a strong advocate of reducing trade barriers for agricultural products worldwide.

Australia’s international reputation has suffered considerably in the last two decades. Previously, Australia had been a very active player in international forums, for instance in the Uruguay Round of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT). However, the Howard and Abbott governments failed to make constructive contributions to international forums. For example, the Abbott government permitted the G20 summit in November 2014 to become an anti-Putin event. By contrast, Labor governments such as Kevin Rudd’s, have been overly ambitious. Rudd’s plans for an Asia-Pacific Community were hastily developed and criticized by his own government’s adviser. Prime Minister Turnbull has steered a much more cooperative course over his term in office. However, Australia has not been providing significant input to policy development to promote global public goods. The very recent ambition to shape the situation in the South Pacific may mark a turning point in Australia’s foreign policy.
Belgium hosts various supranational institutions, including the majority of the offices of the European Union. The country has always displayed enthusiasm toward joint-reform initiatives. This can be illustrated by the large number of Belgian politicians involved in the highest levels of such organizations (e.g., Herman Van Rompuy, a former president of the European Council; Guy Verhofstadt, leader of the liberal group in the European Parliament). Moreover, the country’s small size makes it heavily dependent on international coordination. It therefore supports international reform efforts in areas such as tax systems, carbon-dioxide regulation, and as of 2015, on the European equivalent of the American Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act. However, with regard to implementation, Belgium does not always fulfill its commitments.
Canada’s government has the capacity to provide global public goods in coordination with other actors. Indeed, it has done so throughout its history. The Liberal government has stated that it seeks to return Canada to active participation in international bodies like the United Nations. In September 2016, Prime Minister Trudeau spoke to the U.N. General Assembly and outlined Canada’s commitment to global affairs in an effort to win Canada a seat on the U.N. Security Council, a seat not held since 2000. Canada has since deployed a 250-person Air Task Force as peacekeepers with the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali. Climate change is also among Prime Minister Trudeau’s declared priorities, as demonstrated in the formation of recent climate policies needed to meet the Paris target. In addition, to help ease the Syrian refugee crisis, Canada has welcomed over 57,000 refugees as of July 2018.
The government is endowed with the institutional capacity to contribute actively to international efforts to foster the provision of global public goods. The government actively participates in the international coordination of joint reform initiatives. This is underlined by the fact that Chile represents one of the most active countries in Latin America with regard to international policymaking initiatives. However, the impacts of national policies on these global challenges are not always systematically assessed and then incorporated into the formulation, coordination and monitoring of policies across government.
The country contributes to international efforts to foster the provision of global public goods primarily through its active participation in European policymaking institutions. Irish government structures have been progressively altered to support this capacity.

Ireland has continued to maintain a relatively high level of overseas development assistance since the onset of the economic crisis. It also continues to play an active part in the development of the European response to climate change. The Irish and Kenyan ambassadors co-facilitated the final intergovernmental negotiations that led to the adoption of the UN’s Global Goals (Sustainable Development Goals) in 2015.
For an account of Ireland’s role in negotiating the Sustainable Development Goals see’s-special-role/
Japan is actively involved in G-7 and G-20 mechanisms. However, the country has a lower profile in international and global settings than might be expected in view of its global economic standing. Since Abe’s election in 2012, there has been greater continuity and international visibility, though not in terms of spearheading multilateral initiatives.

The Japanese constitution makes it difficult for Japan to engage in international missions that include the use of force, although it can contribute funds. As a result of Japan’s five-year participation in a UN peacekeeping mission in South Sudan (which ended in 2017), the government has flexibly expanded various procedures stopping just short of active military engagement, such as providing ammunition to endangered military units from partner countries. In 2015, despite considerable public opposition, new security laws were passed that allow military intervention overseas in defense of (somewhat vaguely defined) allies.

Japan has actively supported and contributed to regional initiatives. In recent years, China has emerged as an increasingly influential actor shaping regional initiatives such as the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) and the Belt and Road Initiative. Partly in response, Japan has started to promote its own (smaller-scale) initiatives, the Partnership for Quality Infrastructure in 2015/16 and the Free and Open Indo-Pacific Strategy of 2016. These involve or envision cooperation with countries such as Australia, India, the United States and even China.

Japan has not played a leading role in global environmental-policy efforts, particularly in the post-Kyoto Protocol negotiations, although it should be noted that Prime Minister Abe has declared climate change to be his key agenda item for the 2019 G-20 meeting chaired by Japan.
Mitsuru Obe, Japan Parliament Approves Overseas Military Expansion, The Wall Street Journal, 18 September 2015,

Tridivesh Singh Maini, Japan’s Effort to Counter China’s Silk Road, The Globalist, 6 April 2016,

Michael Bosack, What did Japan Learn in South Sudan?, The Diplomat, 10 June 2017,

Jiji, Climate change will be high on next year’s G20 summit agenda: Abe, The Japan Times, 25 September 2018,
Lithuania actively engages in international policy cooperation on behalf of democracy and market-economic systems, in particular by providing encouragement to its eastern neighbors (the Eastern Partnership countries) to reform, by providing technical and financial assistance, and by serving as an advocate for their interests within the EU institutional framework. Lithuania has been part of the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan since 2005. The country’s policymakers have managed to coordinate their involvement in these international fields quite effectively. In 2012, Lithuania joined the OECD’s Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes as well as completed a first compliance assessment. In 2015, Lithuania was invited to start its accession process to the OECD. In the second half of 2013, Lithuania took over the rotating presidency of the European Council and was afterward assessed by other EU institutions and member states as performing effective work. Furthermore, Lithuania became a non-permanent member of the U.N. Security Council for the 2014 to 2015 term. The interparty agreement, which includes a commitment to progressively increase defense spending to 2% of GDP by 2018, is further evidence of a willingness to support NATO. However, the government has been less willing or able to contribute to such global challenges as climate change or trade liberalization (except in the context of its presidency of the European Council presidency). In 2017, the European Commission fined Lithuanian Railways (Lietuvos geležinkeliai) €27.9 million for breaching EU antitrust rules by removing a rail track connecting Lithuania and Latvia, which hindered competition in the rail freight market. Lithuanian authorities have also experienced problems in trying to convince regional partners to agree on the preferred option for synchronizing electricity systems with the Central European grid and a common position on the safety risks posed by the new nuclear power plant being constructed in Astravets, Belarus.
Vilpišauskas, R. “Lithuania’s EU Council Presidency: Negotiating Finances, Dealing with Geopolitics,” Journal of Common Market Studies, vol. 52, Annual Review, August 2014, pp. 99-108.
South Korea
As a member of the United Nations, the World Trade Organization and the G-20, South Korea helps to shape global rules and foster global public goods, but it rarely plays a leading role in international cooperation. The Moon administration has further shifted the attention from multilateral institutions to bilateral negotiations, with a particular focus on North Korea. Nevertheless, Korea does play a role in international organizations; for example, it is currently contributing 627 individuals to UN peacekeeping missions. Korea does engage in development cooperation, and joined the OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC) in 2009, although initial goals of spending 0.25% of GNI for the purposes of development cooperation have not yet been met. Korea is committed to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and has signed the Paris Agreement on reducing greenhouse-gas emissions. However, Korea can hardly be seen as a leader in these fields, as national sustainability and emissions-reduction goals are underwhelming. For example, while the European Union has promised to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions to 40% below 1990 levels, Korea has only pledged to reduce emissions to 37% below business-as-usual (BAU) projections, which would represent an increase of 81% compared to 1990.
The government of Korea. 2016 National Voluntary Review Year One of Implementing the SDGs in the Republic of Korea: From a Model of Development Success to a Vision for Sustainable Development.
Climate Action Tracker. South Korea Profile.
The Netherlands has been a protagonist in all forms of international cooperation since the Second World War. However, research has shown that since the late 1970s, 60% of EU directives have been delayed (sometimes by years) before being transposed into Dutch law. The present-day popular attitude to international affairs is marked by reluctance, indifference or rejection. This has had an impact on internal and foreign policy, as indicated by the Dutch shift toward assimilationism in integration and immigration policies; the decline in popular support and subsequent lowering of the 1%-of-government-spending-norm for development aid; the shift in the government’s attitude toward being a net contributor to EU finances; and the rejection of the EU referendum and the rejection of the EU treaty with Ukraine in a non-binding referendum.

The change in attitudes has also negatively affected government participation and influence in international coordination of policy and other reforms. Since 2003, the Dutch States General have been more involved in preparing EU-related policy, but largely through the lens of subsidiarity and proportionality – that is, in the role of guarding Dutch sovereignty. However, Dutch ministers do play important roles in the coordination of financial policies at the EU level. Indeed, it is only since the beginning of the banking and financial crisis that the need for better coordination of international policymaking by the Dutch government has led to reforms in the architecture of policy formulation. The sheer number of EU top-level meetings between national leaders forces the Dutch prime minister to act as minister of general and European affairs, with heavy support from the minister of finance. In the first months of 2016, Prime Minister Rutte has acted as chair of the European Union’s Council of Ministers, where he played a leading role in the negotiations with Turkey over stopping the influx of refugees from the Middle East. Immediately after the United Kingdom’s Brexit referendum, Prime Minister Rutte explicitly stressed the need for the Netherlands to be part of a well-functioning European Union that is more than just a trading zone, but one that offers protection and modernization for its citizens. The vice-president of the European Commission, Timmermans, is a former Dutch minister. He gained the “Spitzenkandidat” candidacy for the Socialists in the European Parliament, to succeed Juncker as president of the European Commission. The Dutch minister for Development Aid and Trade plays an important role in fostering better cooperation between governments, international companies and international aid organizations through transnational treaties on production and supply chains. The Netherlands will be part of the U.N. Security Council for the next year.
R.B. Andeweg & G.A. Irwin, Governance and Politics of The Netherlands (2014). Houndmills, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan: 220-228 regarding coordination viz-a-viz the EU and 251-272 for Foreign Policy in general.

Adviesraad International Vraagstukken, TK Vergaderjaar 2017-18, nr. 23987 nr. 260, Coalitievorming na de Brexit. Allianties voor een Europese Unie die moderniseert en beschermt, 7 September 2018
Engagement in international development has traditionally been the responsibility of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. An interministerial coordination group of cabinet ministers coordinates foreign policy issues.

Besides this basic structure, some line ministries increasingly emphasize international coordination, depending on the changing global security and migration situation. The Ministry of Interior, responsible for migration and asylum affairs, has actively participated in recent EU efforts to reduce illegal migration across the Mediterranean Sea. Domestically, the Ministry of Interior increasingly cooperates with the Ministry of Economic Affairs, and the Tax and Custom Board to tackle illegal (immigrant) labor issues. This domestic cooperation is legally framed by the amendments of the Act on Aliens (2018) and the National Action Plan on Prevention of Illegal Labor.

In 2018, the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defense Centre of Excellence (CDCE), which was established on the initiative of Estonia, celebrated its 10th anniversary. The CDCE is a multinational and interdisciplinary hub of cyber-defense expertise, which promotes cyber-defense education and R&D, as well as best practices and consultation. Currently, 28 countries participate in the CDCE, which is based in Tallinn.
Latvia largely contributes to international actions through engaging in the development of EU policy positions.

Institutional arrangements for the formulation of Latvia’s positions on issues before the European Union are formalized. The system is managed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, with particular sectoral ministries developing the substance of Latvia’s various positions. The process requires that NGOs be consulted during the early policy-development phase. In practice, ministries implement this requirement to varying degrees. NGOs themselves often lack the capacity (human resources, financial resources, time) to engage substantively with the ministries on an accelerated calendar.

Draft positions are coordinated across ministries and approved in some cases by the sectoral minister, and in other cases by the Council of Ministers. Issues deemed to have a significant impact on Latvia’s national interests are presented to the parliament’s European Affairs Committee, whose decision is binding. The committee considers approximately 500 national positions per year.

During the first six months of 2015, Latvia held the presidency of the Council of the European Union. Latvia’s first experience with the presidency was considered a success, with the country providing appropriate leadership both on expected challenges, such as returning Europe to economic growth, and unexpected challenges, such as the rapidly escalating refugee crisis and terrorist activity in Europe.
Because of its size, Slovakia’s capacity to shape strategic global frameworks is limited. For a long time, the country was eager to be seen as a reliable and trustworthy partner within NATO and European Union. However, Slovakia’s reputation and standing in the EU have suffered from the Radičová government’s positions on the Greek debt crisis, Slovakia’s joining of ranks with the other Visegrád countries in the EU refugee crisis, and Prime Minister Fico’s “flirt” with Russia. In the period under review, however, Fico and his successor Pellegrini have clearly sought to position Slovakia in the core of the EU and have been keen on distancing themselves from aspects of the positions taken by Hungary and Poland. In 2018, Slovakia has also been actively involved in two major international initiatives. It participated in the voluntary national review of the SDGs and elevated them to a national priority. Moreover, as acting UN General Assembly president from September 2017 to September 2018, the Slovak foreign minister Miroslav Lajčák, was intensively involved in the formulation of the UN’s Global Migration Compact. Eventually, however, the SNS, one of the junior coalition partners, prevented the Slovak signing of the Global Migration Compact.
The United Kingdom has long played a leading role in coordinating international initiatives and the country’s imperial legacy has contributed to its active stance on international commitments. It has led global responses in recent years, for example, in efforts to eradicate poverty in Africa, coordinate the EU response to the Ebola outbreak, promote reform in the financial sector, and combat climate change and corruption.

As a permanent member of the U.N. Security Council, the United Kingdom is very active in the United Nations in security matters and also plays a prominent role in NATO. Government structures, such as the National Security Council, ensure consistency. It led the way in supporting the Rohingya in October 2017.

However, following the decision to leave the European Union, the United Kingdom will have to rethink its role in the world, especially among its European neighbors. There is a risk that the demands on governance capacity of dealing with the various levels of negotiation will distract attention from wider global concerns. To this extent, domestic politics may be inhibiting international coordination.
The government is partially able to shape and implement collective efforts to provide global public goods. Processes designed to ensure coherence in national policies affecting progress show deficiencies.
Within the European Union, the government is obliged to collaborate with EU institutions. This collaboration is rarely controversial. In other matters (e.g., within the framework of the WTO, the Bretton Woods institutions, and the United Nations), the Austrian government tends to play a rather low-key role, usually trying to follow a general EU policy if such a policy exists. In some fields (e.g., environmental protection), the government tends to promise more on the international level than it is willing or able to implement at home. During the debate about CETA, some members of the Austrian government (from the Social Democratic Party) attempted to improve some details even after the European Commission and the Canadian government had reached an agreement. In the end, the Austrian government, represented by the social democratic chancellor, signed CETA.

The ÖVP-FPÖ coalition has created an unusual mixture of different responsibilities in the field of Austria’s European and international policies. The EU agenda is strictly controlled by the ÖVP: The chancellor represents Austria in the European Council, and the (ÖVP-nominated) minister for European affairs is Austria’s voice in the Council of General Affairs. But the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which has lost its EU agenda, is led by a minister, nominated by the FPÖ. This has created already some frictions (e.g., regarding the FPÖ-favored policy to allow members from the Italian province of Bolzano (Südtirol) to gain Austrian citizenship while retaining their Italian citizenship). This idea has not only raised eyebrows in Italy but also within the ÖVP – although this has not led to an open dispute.
Croatia has supported major global reform initiatives, especially in environmental affairs. However, the Plenković governments have not paid particular attention to improving the country’s capacity to engage in global affairs or to assessing the global repercussions of national policies. Unlike her predecessor, President Kolinda Grabar Kitarović has not been very active in improving cooperation with the other successor states of the former Yugoslavia.
Iceland is an active participant in international forums, but seldom initiates measures. Iceland was a founding member of the United Nations, the IMF, the World Bank, and NATO. In 2008, Iceland sought a U.N. Security Council seat, but eventually lost out to Austria and Turkey. Largely, Iceland has worked cooperatively within international frameworks, but has not led any significant process of international coordination. Iceland did participate in peacekeeping efforts in Iraq and modestly participates in the work of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. In 2009, Iceland applied for EU membership. Those negotiations were postponed at the beginning of 2013 due to dissent between the coalition parties. The 2013 – 2016 cabinet did not renew negotiations and finally withdrew Iceland’s application for membership in 2015. As a result, the European Union no longer includes Iceland on its official list of applicant countries. Even so, the European Union may continue to view Iceland as an applicant country on the grounds that the minister of foreign affairs was not, without parliament’s approval, authorized to withdraw an application approved by parliament.

This question remains unsettled. It remains to be seen if a national referendum will be held on whether Iceland should resume its membership negotiations with the European Union. The cabinet of 2013 – 2016 rejected that option, producing a split within the Independence Party and leading to the establishment of a splinter party, Regeneration. Yet, when the Independence Party formed a cabinet coalition with the breakout party, Regeneration, and Bright Future in January 2017, the coalition agreement included only a vaguely worded intention to have a national referendum on the issue. Following the breakup of that coalition in September 2017, which led to a new election in late October 2017, the question remains unresolved. All three coalition parties in the Jakobsdóttir cabinet (2017 – present) publicly oppose EU membership.
In conjunction with its OECD accession in 2010, Israel created government agencies designed to coordinate, enforce and monitor administrative changes. Reforms aiming to improve interministerial cooperation and reinforce policy monitoring are still in the early stages of implementation. A 2015 report examined Israel’s global cooperation in the field of research and development (R&D), looking at the country’s administrative and economic capabilities. It found that while Israel is considered as one of the world leading countries in R&D, more coordination and improvements with regard to accessible information and standardization capabilities are warranted.
Avital, Yanicm, “Which country spend the most on research and development among OECD countries?, GeekTime, 15.7.2015. (Hebrew).

“Israel in the OECD,” Minister of Treasury formal report (2010) (Hebrew).

Kaufman, Dan and Marom, Yael, “Evaluation of international cooperation programs in R&D in Israel,” The Jerusalem Institute for Israel Studies (May 2011) (Hebrew).

Orbah, Mair. “The Ministry of Economy has stopped giving grants to High-Tech companies,” Calcalist, 11.8.2016.,7340,L-3695401,00.html

“Progress report on the implementation of the OECD recommendations: Labor market and social policies,” Ministry of Industry, trade and labor official report (June 2012).
The ability of Italian governments to take a leading role in international efforts is generally limited. This is in part due to the country’s relatively small size, but also because Italian politics tends to focus on internal matters. Moreover, frequent changes in political leadership have made it difficult to provide a strong and clear position in international efforts. There have been occasional exceptions when the government has been more active on a specific issue (such as the abolition of death penalty, or in the promotion of peace talks in the Middle East). The Gentiloni government mainly focused on the EU level, with the executive actively engaged in EU policy discussions promoting the need for economic growth over simple fiscal balance. With regard to the immigration crisis, the Italian government has promoted the shared responsibility of EU member states. Overall, the government has shied away from confrontation in the European arena, and opted for cooperation with the European Commission and the main EU member states.
The new Conte government has chosen a much more confrontational path with the European Union and some of the main EU member states, while at the same time trying to strengthen bonds with the United States and Russia. This change is bound to increasingly isolate Italy in the main playing field (i.e., the European Union) and to reduce the effectiveness of Italian participation in international governance.
The Mexican government is increasingly confident of its role in the broader world. Mexico has traditionally been supportive of international initiatives, in the hope of reducing the bilateralism imposed by Mexico’s close and asymmetrical relationship with the United States. Mexico continues to play an active role in the United Nations, OECD and other intergovernmental organizations. It also remains an enthusiastic participant in multilateral organizations, including international financial organizations such as the World Bank, the Organization of American States (OAS) and the Inter-American Development Bank. Numerous policy and organizational recommendations made by international bodies have been adopted in the Mexican policymaking process. Thus, it has a supportive role in many international attempts oriented toward the provision of global public goods. Whether this engagement in international affairs is sufficient to shape international efforts is questionable given the country’s reduced level of international leverage in economic and security affairs. However, within its capacities, Mexico has contributed to strengthening multilateralism.
With the PiS government, Poland’s international orientation has changed. The PiS government has openly resisted steps leading toward deeper integration, and has been more critical than its predecessors of Germany’s role in the European Union. Because of the PiS government’s intransigence, Poland’s reputation and standing within the European Union have suffered. While Prime Minister Morawiecki and Foreign Minister Waszczykowski have been more urbane than their predecessors, the government’s basic approach toward the EU did not change following the 2017/18 changes in the cabinet. Poland wants to play an active role within NATO, and has tried to establish a closer relationship with the United States and within the Visegrád group (Hungary, Czech Republic, Slovakia). While the four Visegrád countries largely agree on the refugee issue and climate policy, they hold different attitudes toward Russia. Unlike the other Visegrád countries, Poland has strongly supported the sanctions imposed on Russia by the European Union.
Łada, A. (2018): Squaring the circle? EU budget negotiations after Brexit – considering CEE perspective, Instytut Spraw Publicznych, Policy Brief 1, Warsaw (

Fuksiewicz, A., A. Łada (2017): When two Plus Two Doesn’t Equal four. The Visegrád Group on the Future of Europe, Instytut Spraw Publicznych, Analyses & Opinions No. 23 /150, Warsaw (

Buras, Piotr (2017): Europe and its Discontents: Poland’s Collision Course with the European Union, European Council on Foreign Relations Policy Briefs, London.
Romanian governments have supported international efforts to provide global public goods. The country has been actively involved in various U.N. peacekeeping missions, has contributed to global action against climate change and has participated constructively in the allocation of refugees within the EU. In April 2018, it also became a member in the OECD’s Development Assistance Committee. The country’s international ambitions are evident in its intention to seek a non-permanent seat on the U.N. Security Council from 2020-2021. However, Romania’s international standing has suffered from the democratic backsliding.
Like its predecessors, the Cerar government was preoccupied with domestic political and economic issues and paid little attention to improving institutional capacity for shaping and implementing global initiatives. The country’s main international focus has been on shaping the European Union’s policy toward the western Balkans, where Slovenia sees its strategic interests. In the period under review, the 25-year long territorial dispute between Slovenia and Croatia over the Gulf of Piran and part of the land border continued. While Slovenia accepted the arbitration decision of June 2017 and amended its legislation in December 2017, Croatia has refused to do so, prompting Slovenia to pursue legal action in the European Court of Justice in July 2018.
Switzerland is a fairly active member of the United Nations, the IMF, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), the Council of Europe and most of the other important international organizations. Swiss foreign economic policy works actively to defend the interests of its export-oriented economy, as for instance in the context of the WTO.

The policy of neutrality and the objective of safeguarding national autonomy set clear limits to the country’s international engagement in the past, however, and direct democracy further reduced the scope of action in international affairs. During the growing polarization witnessed in Swiss politics over the past 20 years, together with the associated decline in consociational patterns of behavior, right-wing politicians have emphasized the notion of a small, neutral and independent nation-state surviving on the basis of smart strategies in a potentially hostile environment. Large portions of the population support these ideas. Popular skepticism toward European integration has mounted over the course of the last years.

The country concentrates its efforts in areas where it can realistically have some influence, such as economic matters or technical organizations dealing with issues such as transport, ecology or development. This said, there is a clear gap between the government’s stated goals in terms of international cooperation and the resources – institutional or otherwise – that it has at its disposal for these tasks
As a result of the ongoing civil war in Syria, Turkey has hosted and assisted more than 3.5 million Syrian refugees, with only a limited proportion of refugees living in state-run refugee camps. The EU-Turkey Statement has become an important element of the European Union’s comprehensive approach on migration. While Turkey accuses the European Union of falling behind on its promises, the European Union claims that €3 billion were allocated through the EU Facility for Refugees in Turkey in 2016 and 2017.

The U.S.-led coalition campaign to destroy the Islamic State group enters its fourth year, with authorities declaring concrete improvements. However, Turkey, a key player in the coalition, has also intensified its own separate efforts in Syria. The Turkish military established its own mission in Northern Syria in 2016 and 2017. This mission has since developed into a full military confrontation with the U.S.-backed People’s Protection Units (YPG). Turkey claimed the mission is part of Turkey’s efforts to fight all terrorist organizations, including ISIL. In December 2016, a total of 3,359 people were taken into custody for associating with ISIL militants and 1,313 were arrested. Since November 2017, police officers have conducted almost daily raids on ISIL cells across Turkey, with increasing intensity in the past few weeks.

In addition to the consultative, coordinative and cooperative structures within NATO and the European Union, Turkey also participated in the Vienna and Geneva talks as well as – after overcoming disputes with Russia – bilateral talks with Russia, Iran and other regional players in search of a diplomatic solution to the Syrian conflict. Within the scope of bilateral and multilateral agreements, Turkish troops are active in Afghanistan, Somalia, Bosnia, Kosovo, Syria and Iraq.

In 2017, in accordance with the Concept of Participation in the Operations of Support and Protection of Peace, Turkey carried out 20 projects in Afghanistan, 24 projects in Bosnia and Herzegovina and 41 projects in Kosovo, and a total of 85 civilian military cooperation projects.
European Commission Turkey Report 2018,…/sites/…/20180417-turkey-report.pdf, (accessed 27 October 2018)
International Crisis Group, “Turkey’s Syrian Refugees: Defusing Metropolitan Tensions,” (accessed 1 November 2018) TC Milli Savunma Bakanlığı Faaliyet Raporu 2017, (accessed 27 October 2018)
TİKA Annual Report 2017,
(accessed 27 October 2018)
The United States has often led international efforts to pursue collective goods – sometimes, indeed, effectively controlling those efforts – while sometimes preferring unilateral approaches that withhold support from international forums. Its institutional structures and political traditions – especially the role of presidential leadership – accommodate all of these approaches. But the United States often cannot act effectively unless a national consensus or single-party control of the government enables the president and Congress to agree on a strategy.

The Trump administration, with its avowed “America First” orientation, has reduced its engagement in international forums and agreements. This has included lecturing NATO members on their allegedly insufficient contributions, withdrawing from the Paris Climate Agreement and declining to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement.
The capacity of Bulgarian government bodies to correspond with, coordinate and participate in international processes and initiatives has improved, especially after it became a member of NATO and the European Union. Yet, Bulgaria is still primarily reactive in terms of international efforts to foster the provision of global public goods and its level of commitment to such causes remains relatively low. Factors contributing to this situation include a lack of capacity, political cautiousness about international commitments and, recently, increasing xenophobia represented in the governing coalition.

More often than not, Bulgaria tends to take part in international efforts but wait for the international community to formulate policies, set goals and benchmarks. It then does its best to implement those domestically. Inasmuch as there is coordination and assessment going on, it is for these reactive purposes.
Despite the island’s proclaimed role as a bridge between three continents, its preoccupation with its own challenges has prevented it from sufficiently seizing opportunities offered through its membership in the EU, UN and other intergovernmental organizations. Its contribution to global public welfare is limited and mechanisms or plans to ensure such contribution are largely absent. Instead, the Cypriot government focuses on bilateral relations and isolated contributions to specific matters in international fora. Resources and attention are gradually shifting from efforts to overcome the economic crisis to initiatives aiming to coordinate with neighboring countries on exploiting hydrocarbons in the Eastern Mediterranean. Given existing conflicts in the area, which are partly fueled by hydrocarbon explorations, the main aim has been to forge alliances. Cyprus could exploit the great potential that its strategic location offers to contribute more to the common good in the region and globally.
1. Cyprus, Greece hit back at Turkey’s trilateral summit ‘dismay’, Cyprus Mail, 13 October 2018,
For a long time, the Czech government acted not as a leader but as a reliable partner of the international community. Vis-à-vis the European union, this changed over the refugee crisis. However, the Czech position, while opposing EU quotas for relocation of refugees, was not as firm as that of Hungary and Poland and the government has sought to achieve some acceptance at European level and has aligned himself rather with the Italian Prime Minister Conte on the refugee issue than with Hungary and Poland. Czechia (unlike Poland and Hungary) continues to accept some refugees and contributes funding to humanitarian aid outside Europe (Turkey, Syria). There is no political will to implement the euro or to engage in debates over its reform and further development.
Greece, through its membership in the euro zone and through EU summits and meetings of ministers, has participated in international efforts to foster the provision of public goods. For instance, Greece has been vocal at international forums in pressuring for a global response to migration issues, emphasizing that migration from the developing world into Europe is not solely a Greek problem arising from its geographical position between Europe and Asia. However, given its own severe economic crisis, Greece has been on the receiving end rather than a policy-setter. It has been unable to develop institutional capacities for fostering the provision of global public goods beyond its role as an EU member state. Given the continued stagnation of the Greek economy, the government has not been able to devote resources toward ensuring that its own national policies are in line with international norms and agreements.
Malta does not have the institutional capacity to actively shape a wide range of international efforts. However, Malta has sought to do this within its immediate Mediterranean region and increasingly within the EU. Since 1975, Malta has been a rapporteur of the UN Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People. It continues to support good-governance efforts in Libya and Tunisia and co-operates closely on refugee and migration issues with neighboring countries. Malta accepts more asylum-seekers per capital than almost all other countries and was one of the few EU countries to honor in full the EU relocation program by taking in its full quota (accepting 131 refugees and asylum-seekers). In 2018, with the assistance of the EU Commission, Malta coordinated the redistribution of a number of migrants stranded in Mediterranean ports to other EU states, while also taking up part of the relocation quota on its own. During the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting hosted in Malta in 2015, the country contributed toward the setting up of a fund to assist small Commonwealth island countries in adapting to climate change and in the fight to eradicate polio. Preliminary discussions also took place in preparation for the climate change summit in Paris. In October 2015, Malta hosted an EU-Africa migration conference, the Valletta Summit on Migration. It has pressed for the implementation of agreements reached at the summit. In December 2015, it facilitated talks between Libya’s rival factions in support of a UN peace plan. Malta’s progress in this sphere has also been demonstrated by its success during the EU presidency. Malta has also contributed to the creation of a strong international regulatory framework for cryptocurrencies. As a net importer of labor, Malta is presently working with governments in the MENA region, focusing initially on Tunisia with the aim of providing employment to skilled Tunisians.
Galustain, R., Libya Mediation via Malta, Times of Malta 01/11/16
Malta representative in Palestine visits PLO dignitaries in Ramallah
Trade between Malta and Tunisia still below potential Times of Malta 05/01/19
Since the beginning of the EU refugee crisis, Prime Minister Orbán has looked for an international role for himself and has increasingly been elevated to one of Europe’s “strong men” in the Fidesz press. He has intensified cooperation within the Visegrád group, especially on migration policy and has boasted about his good relationship with Putin and China. However, all these activities have further undermined his standing with other European leaders, especially as Orbán actively seeks to build alliances in Brussels against all projects not being in line with the new nationalist-populist ideology he follows. The Hungarian prime minister became the driving force in this respect. The conflict of the Orbán government with the EU further deepened in the refugee crisis and by the “Stop Brussels campaign.” It reached a new high in September 2018 when the European Parliament, with a two-thirds majority, passed the Sargentini Report criticizing the Hungarian government in detail for its violation of European rules and values. Questioning the voting procedure, the Orbán government has declared this resolution null and void. Due to Orbán’s uncompromising and aggressive behavior, calls to exclude Fidesz from the European People’s Party group in the European Parliament have grown louder.
Kirchick, J. (2019): Is Hungary Becoming a Rogue State in the Center of Europe? Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institution (
The government does not have sufficient institutional capacities to shape and implement collective efforts to provide global public goods. It does not have effective processes to ensure coherence in national policies affecting progress.
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