Strategic Capacity


How much influence do strategic planning units and bodies have on government decision-making?

Strategic planning units and bodies take a long-term view of policy challenges and viable solutions, and they exercise strong influence on government decision-making.
Government policies have traditionally been consensus driven. This applies both to parliament, as most governments have been minority governments, and in relation to negotiations involving organizations and the political system, most notably in relation to labor market issues.

Major reforms in Denmark are usually prepared through committees or commissions established to produce reports outlining issues and options. In recent years, commissions have played an essential role in the policy formation process, including Strukturkommissionen (infrastructure commission), Velfærdskommissionen (welfare commission), Arbejdsmarkedskommissionen (labor market commission), Skattekommissionen (tax commission), Produktivitetskommissionen (productivity commission) and Dagpengekommissionen (unemployment insurance commission). In addition, it is quite common to appoint expert groups to prepare inputs for important policy discussions and reforms. The members can be experts, representatives of organizations or civil servants. Moreover, professionalism in ministries has increased.

A tradition has developed in formulating overarching strategic policy plans (usually with a horizon of about 10 years), such as the government’s 2010, 2015, 2020 and (most recently) 2025 plans. The 2025 plan was presented by the previous Liberal minority government in August 2016 and subsequently reaffirmed by the current three-party government in May 2017. The plan sets policy targets for, among other areas, fiscal sustainability and living standards.

There has been a continuous effort to modernize the public sector to make it more efficient. Economic policy plans have included expectations on productivity increases in the public sector, although there are obvious measurement problems in assessing the outcome of such initiatives. As a sign of the ongoing process, the new coalition government includes a minister responsible for public innovation. Reforms of the tax authority have been criticized for being excessively focused on cost savings, which results in less effective tax administration and reduced control over tax compliance.
Niels Ejersbo og Carsten Greve, Modernisering af den offentlige sektor. Copenhagen: Børsen, 2005.

DK2025 - et stærkere Danmark. August 2016. (Accessed 17 October 2016).

The Danish Government, “Vækst og velstand 2025,” (Accessed 16 October 2017)

“Afhøringer i skandalesag om udbytteskat for milliarder indledes,” (Accessed 7 November 2018).
Strategic planning has considerable influence on government decision-making. The strategic goals contained in the government program are recorded in specific government-strategy documents. These strategy documents cover a one-year period and include a plan for pursuing priority goals, a notice of intent for upcoming key decisions and indicators for evaluating government performance. The implementation of the government program is assessed by a report halfway through the cabinet’s tenure, which defines how strategic goals should be attained through the rest of the cabinet’s time in office. The Prime Minister’s Office assists the prime minister and the government in their work and is responsible for the planning of social policy legislation that does not fall within the competence of any other ministry. The government often launches policy programs to ensure its key objectives are met. Meanwhile, the preparation and monitoring of programs is delegated to ministerial groups. In addition, the Committee for the Future deals with future-related matters. As a former entrepreneur, Prime Minister Sipilä has given the government program an even more strategic turn. For some of its policy objectives, the government utilizes trial projects to assess reform impacts. The basic income trial project, which was run with 2,000 participants nationwide in 2017 and 2018, is an example of this kind of new strategic evidence-based planning. The initial results of a scientific assessment of the experiment will be available in spring 2019. The analysis will include a register-based study, and a survey of experimental and control group participants.
Basic income experiment;
Strategic planning units and bodies take a long-term view of policy challenges and viable solutions. Their influence on government decision-making is systematic but limited in issue scope or depth of impact.
Neither the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) nor the Privy Council Office (PCO) has an official planning unit. In 1997, Policy Horizons Canada was established under the PCO with a mandate to provide analysis and help the federal public service anticipate emerging policy challenges and opportunities, in order to support medium-term policy development. Its budget is small, however, and this unit has not reported through the PCO since 2007. Nevertheless, there are thousands of public servants employed by the PCO, the Department of Finance and the Treasury Board (close to 3,000 individuals in all) who have no specific program responsibility. Their purpose is to manage politically sensitive files and to plan. Therefore, some argue that the planning capacity of the government of Canada is as strong as that of other Western countries, and in some cases even stronger.

The Trudeau government has made ample use of special advisory groups to provide information and consultations on a number of policy areas (e.g., economic growth, cultural policy and issues relating to young people).
In December 2011, Latvia established a central government planning unit, the Cross-Sectoral Coordination Centre (Pārresoru koordinācijas centrs, PKC). The PKC’s mandate was to develop a long-term strategic approach to public policymaking, while also monitoring decision-making to ensure that public policies are effective. The PKC also monitors ministries’ progress toward meeting the government’s stated goals, as outlined in the government declaration.

To date, the PKC has produced the National Development Plan, monitored progress toward the Latvia 2030 framework and established an active role for itself in decision-making, contributing to policy debates on a range of cross-sectoral issues such as demographics and income disparities. The PKC reviews all proposals discussed by the cabinet and provides weekly briefings for the prime minister on substantive issues pending discussion by the cabinet. In 2015, the PKC’s mandate was expanded to include a coordinating role in the management of state-owned enterprises.

In addition to the PKC’s core role and a reduction in departmental units and staff numbers, most ministries have retained some independent planning capacity. The PKC has been criticized for becoming mired in the details of policy planning, effectively duplicating the work of ministries while failing to provide the cross-sectoral, meta-approach expected of it.

The effectiveness of the PKC is not limited by its ability to provide quality analysis and evidence-based arguments, but rather by its inability to carve out a position of authority and influence within the decision-making process. Analysis provided by the PKC to politicians is easily tossed aside when political expediency dictates. The PKC itself sees its role as providing much-needed analysis, but not necessarily ensuring that these evidence-based arguments are respected in the decision-making process.
The Cross-Sectoral Coordination Centre, Information Available at (in Latvian):, Last assessed: 06.01.2019
Lithuania’s strategic-planning system was introduced in 2000 and has been updated several times since. At the central level of government, the planning system involves all stages (planning, monitoring and evaluation) of managing strategic and operational performance. The main strategic documents include the long-term Lithuania 2030 strategy and the medium-term National Progress Program, which is in turn linked to short-term strategic-performance plans and budget programs. The planning system in general is well-institutionalized; its functioning is supported by a network of strategic-planning units within each ministry and a governmental Strategic Committee that was re-introduced in 2013 by the 2012 to 2016 government. However, the strategic planning system suffers from unnecessary complexity. About 250 strategic documents exist, while strategic action plans include 1,800 monitoring indicators. The 2016 to 2020 government developed guidelines and an action plan for restructuring strategic planning and the budget formulation system to focus more on results and ensure fiscal sustainability. The current government also introduced so-called change baskets, channeling more financial resources to the implementation of government priorities and other significant legislative commitments (e.g., poverty reduction and national defense). For instance, financial support for children will be increased from €30 per child in 2018 to €50 per child in 2019.

A State Progress Council composed of politicians, public and civil servants, academics, business leaders, and other representatives of Lithuanian society was established to help design the Lithuania 2030 strategy and monitor its implementation. The council’s composition was updated after the 2012 to 2016 government came to office and meetings were held on a regular basis until 2016. Although the 2016 to 2020 government was initially reluctant to employ this governance arrangement, after almost two years of putting Council activities on hold it decided to update its composition. It remains to be seen if the Council will resume its role as the prime minister appears increasingly driven by pre-election incentives, disregarding strategic priorities.

More generally, though these strategic and advisory bodies take a long-term approach and offer viable policy solutions, their influence on governmental decision-making varies by policy issue. There is a certain gap between the long-term policy aims contained in various strategic documents and the actual practices of individual public-sector organizations. In addition, politically important decisions are sometimes made without due consideration of strategic priorities and performance-monitoring, with strategic-planning documents and performance reports often playing little role in daily decision-making processes or the activities of street-level bureaucrats.
New Zealand
New Zealand has unique constitutional arrangements resulting in a significant concentration of power in the cabinet and a highly cohesive system of cabinet government. The core executive in New Zealand is organized according to new public-management approaches and methods. Most importantly, contracts are negotiated between ministers and chief executives. With the large number of government departments and ministers (26, with a further three undersecretaries), most of whom are responsible for several portfolios, taking a whole-of-government approach to policy development can be complex and time-consuming. Recent governments have reacted to concerns about fragmentation by recentralizing the steering capacity of the core executive. The most important government departments involved in strategic planning and policy formation are the central agencies of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (DPMC), the State Services Commission (SSC) and the Treasury. All contracts (performance agreements and departmental statements of intent) support a cooperative and whole-of-government policy approach, though evaluation of the performance assessment of chief executives has a strong focus on departmental achievements.
The prime minister can draw on only moderate strategic-planning capacity (in the form of a policy-advisory group) vis-à-vis ministers. Ad hoc groups, often including some outside expertise, are increasingly used to complement government agencies’ policy-advisory function.
In 2014, prompted by evidence of widespread inconsistency in the quality of policy advice being produced across agencies, the New Zealand government launched the Policy Project. This deployed analytical tools and frameworks to investigate current practice in policy design to improve the quality of policy advice across the whole of government. Through collaborative methods, the Policy Project identified and codified what quality policy advice looks like and the skills and processes needed to produce it. The Policy Project has produced a number of policy improvement frameworks, which were launched by the prime minister of New Zealand in 2016.
The unprecedented character of the Labour-NZ First coalition, with support from the Green party, constitutes new challenges in terms of strategic capacity because of a lack of experience on the government’s side. Only three of the Labour Party’s ministers and two of the NZ First members of parliament have previously held ministerial office. The Green party, which holds three ministerial positions outside of cabinet, has no member with previous ministerial experience.
Department of the Prime Minister and the Cabinet (DPMC). Annual Report 2018.
The strategic capacity of government has been enhanced over the past few years. Much of that capacity is found in the finance ministry where most of the long-term planning takes place. The main role of the Prime Minister’s Office is not so much long-term planning but more coordination within government.

A case in the point is the so-called future commission which presented its final report in early 2013. In the final report, the commission assesses the economic and social changes that are likely to shape Swedish society in the longer term. Exactly how the commission’s findings will flow into the policy process is yet to be seen. The commission was not an institutionalized feature of the normal policy process but rather a group of experts the government appointed to examine long-term issues. The creation of the commission does signal that the government is thinking in the longer term, and other commissions have since been appointed to take a similar long view on various issues on the policy agenda.

In addition to these planning efforts in the government departments, the agencies are also engaged in planning. They are not operating in close proximity to the departments, however. The exception to this pattern is when a department asks one of its agencies to look into a particular issue and to prepare advice on policy-initiatives.

The center-right government (2006 – 2014) invested considerable energy to increase coordination among government departments and improve steering of the executive agencies.

Historically, policy planning has been achieved to a large extent by the use of royal commissions. Most of these commissions were composed of elected officials and stakeholders. During the past decade or so, the quality of these commissions – particularly with regard to the quality of the studies they deliver and their capacity to generate consensus among major political actors and stakeholders as to policy goals and means – has deteriorated. Many commissions today have very few members and are often dominated by civil servants. This has had a negative impact on those commissions’ final reports and the quality of the advice they produce as well as the political role of commissions as a forum in the policy process where compromises among the political parties can be negotiated.
Zetterberg, K. (2011), ”Det statliga kommittéväsendet: En del av den svenska modellen,” Svensk Juristtidning 8:753-763.

Svenska framtidsutmaningar. Slutrapport från regeringens framtidskommission (2013) (Stockholm: Statsrådsberedningen) (

Garsten, C., B. Rothstein and S. Svallfors (2015), Makt utan mandat: de policyprofessionella i svensk politik (Stockholm: Dialogos).
Probably the most important government body for encouraging long-term strategic policy development is the Productivity Commission, which notionally provides advice to government on microeconomic policy, but which increasingly is asked to provide advice in other policy areas. The Productivity Commission conducts reviews and inquiries as directed by government, and also independently produces research reports. All advice and reports are released publicly in a timely fashion.

Within the Federal public service, extensive use is made of committees to undertake strategic planning, and the activities of these committees generally peak immediately before and after the transition to a new government, and in the pre-budget period. The public service also maintains a single department, the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, with the aim of coordinating and directing strategic planning across the government as a whole.

The coalition government rationalized the number of government departments and agencies shortly after coming into office in September 2013. The Community and Public Sector Union estimated that 18,000 public sector jobs were cut in the subsequent period as a result, reducing the strategic planning capacity of the public service. The implications for strategic planning are not likely positive.

Productivity Commission:
The strategic capacity of the Austrian executive is limited by the lack of clear majorities in the federal parliament and in most of the state (provincial) parliaments. With some exceptions, no party can claim to have the mandate to implement a set of policies agreed to by a majority of voters and members of parliament. Rather, coalitions must be formed, a process with clear advantages and clear disadvantages. On the one hand, executive responsibility is blurred, as the presence of too many veto players prevents the development of consistent strategic capacity. On the other, coalitions enable a more inclusive government. Political decision-making in Austria is still characterized by a tendency to prefer a maximum of consensus, even at the price of postponing necessary decisions and shying away from taboos identified with the interests of special groups (such as public service unions or organized agrarian interests). Inter- and intra-party veto players have significant influence, and undermine strategic capacity.

Strategic-planning units and bodies consisting of public officials do exist within the ministries. The Federal Chancellery can be considered the principal strategic-planning unit, as it is responsible for coordinating the government’s various activities. However, it lacks the specialized personnel that would enable it to work as a comprehensive strategy unit and has no power to give instructions to other ministries.

In 2017 the coalition between SPÖ and ÖVP collapsed due to a change of leadership within the ÖVP. Consequently, the general election scheduled for 2018 had to be moved to October 2017. The outcome of the election resulted in a new coalition agreement, negotiated between the ÖVP and FPÖ. However, the formation of a new coalition will not change the inbuilt weaknesses of a coalition government based on partners with conflicting interests.

The ÖVP-FPÖ coalition government, formed at the end of 2017, continued the strategy of centralizing the bureaucracy within the ministries by establishing “secretary generals” above the traditional structure. A secretary general is only answerable to the minister, placing them above heads of departments. This structure, in some cases established before 2017, has become the overall principle within the whole government. The intention is to give the respective minister (through the secretary general) direct control over the ministry.
Each minister works closely with a team of collaborators in each ministerial cabinet. Each cabinet is usually large, with as many as 30 to 40 senior staff and experts. Meetings take place often, and the team designs policies in line both with the minister’s objectives and the government agreement. The minister and the advisory team are then responsible for drafting bill projects which are then submitted to the government in weekly meetings.

In terms of long-term planning, the knowledge accumulated by a minister’s collaborators can be lost at the end of a legislative period, as the ministerial team changes with the minister. Moreover, the frequency of staff rotation is generally high. In contrast, public administration is run by civil servants with longer tenures of office, but these groups do not generally take part in strategic ministerial decisions. Long-term planning (beyond a legislative term) is therefore made difficult. The main rationale for relying on the minister’s team instead of civil servants is that the former are the minister’s (and the party’s) close aides and tend to be more flexible in terms of working hours and availability for emergency situations.

The federal Planning Bureau (Bureau du Plan/Planbureau) does play a role in providing longer strategic-planning options, but in general it is the ministerial cabinets that are the main movers of legislative efforts.
The president has the ability to ask for and ensure strategic planning, whether through formal or informal channels. Line ministries, most notably the Ministry of Finance, and the president’s advisory ministry (Secretaría General de la Presidencia, Segpres), have considerable influence in strategic-planning processes. Meetings between strategic-planning staff and the head of government are held frequently. However, no long-term view of policy challenges and viable solutions is necessarily presented – these are either limited in scope or depth of impact depending on the topic. Strategic planning, policy planning and regulatory reforms, budget planning, and ex ante evaluation of government policies and public-investment programs are carried out by specialist units and departments inside the various ministries. While there is no explicit multi-year budget planning process in place in Chile, this takes place implicitly due to the fiscal rule that (by law) links overall government expenditure to forward-looking estimates of long-term government revenue, based on growth trends and copper-price projections. These forecasts are provided in a transparent way by specialist budgetary commissions comprised of academic and private-sector experts (mostly professional economists).
The supporting structures of the government in Estonia are mainly located in the line ministries. The Government Office (GO) is quite limited in this respect, though there is a Strategy Unit within the GO, which mainly has a consulting function. Its main tasks are to support the composition of strategic-development plans, to coordinate and draw up the government’s action plan, and monitor the implementation of the above-mentioned policy documents. The Strategy Unit employs 11 staff. Since 2014, an ambitious program to improve the quality of policymaking has funded various activities (e.g., impact assessments, future scenario, legal analysis and engagement projects). The human capacity of the Strategy Unit has been enhanced by various expert groups and task forces established within this ambitious program.

In addition to the Strategy Unit, there is also a Prime Minister’s Bureau, comprised of experts in various policy areas who advise the prime minister. Different from the Strategy Unit, this body is closely linked to the prime minister’s political party and its members change with each new prime minister.

In 2017, a Foresight Center was established by the parliament to carry out long-term social and economic analyses, and draft development scenarios. The center consults parliamentary committees, but has only an implicit linkage to the executive.
There is some evidence that Irish policymakers improved their strategic-planning capacity since the period in the immediate aftermath of the crisis. The annual reports on the Programme for Government detail a more coherent strategic approach to policymaking and increased use of advisory bodies.

However, independent advice is not always followed. Popular pressures for increased spending and tax reductions influenced government decisions in the 2016 budget, reflecting the proximity of a general election. The Fiscal Advisory Council and the Economic and Social Research Institute have urged the government to devote more of the revenue gains arising from the recent economic improvement to a faster reduction of the budget deficit, at the expense of lower taxes and increased spending. However, the imposition of limits on mortgage lending during 2015, intended to moderate the rise in home prices, is a welcome example of unpopular but prudent strategic thinking.

During the 2011 to 2016 government and current minority government, detailed reports were published by the government monitoring annual progress on implementing the Programme for Government.
The director general of the Prime Minister’s Office oversees the body’s administrative and policy work. The director general supervises three main planning agencies: The National Economic Council, the National Security Council and the Policy Planning Department. In 2010, the government formed a committee to investigate internal strategic planning capacities; the results, published in late 2012, identified many structural deficiencies.

A number of steps have been taken as a consequence, with the most prominent of these being the annual publication of the Governmental Plan Book. The sixth book, published in February 2018, offers a review of strategic planning units on the Israeli government. As a continuation of the 2017 book, Israel used different consultants to define and achieve its goals for 2018. According to the book, connections between government ministries, and various professional and business experts were achieved and have improved policy outcomes. In addition, the book continues to use different markers, measurement indicators and compares the strategic goals of last year’s report to those of 2018.

The government is also conducting a series of “roundtables” in which government offices consult different professionals. Since 2008, there has been a series of policy planning initiatives called the policy planning roundtable. This started as a PMO initiative and brought together experts from the public, private and third sectors. These meetings allow the government to ask for advice from different experts. Although at the time of writing, no information was available on meetings after 2017.

In addition, in 2018, as part of reforms introduced over recent years in the field of public and professional consultation, the connection between the government and strategic planning units was tightened. For example, the Israeli government ICT authority, which is responsible for the improvement of services and public outreach, conducted a series of consultations with academic and business professionals, and public consultants and strategic planning groups in order to improve services and optimize results.
“A guide for government planning,” The department for policy planning, September 2010 (Hebrew)

Arlozorov, Merav, “Serious, Ambitious, and Improving: Some Good Words on Netanyahu’s Government,” The Marker, 5.3.2017,

Loten, Tomer, “The Governmental Planning Reform is Now Complete: Now is the time for an Implementation Reform.” The Marker, 27.3.2017,

“Policy departments – auxiliary tool for navigation,” the Reut institute 11.6.2008. (Hebrew)

Working Plan Book 2017-18, PMO Office, March 2017: (Hebrew)

“Government releases 2017-2018 work plan,” Ynet reporters, 03.05.2017,,7340,L-4930776,00.html

Government ICT Authority, Action Plan for years 2018-2019 (Hebrew),

Working Plan Book 2018-2019, PMO Office, Feburary 2018 (Hebrew),

Policy Planning round tables, PMO office, June 2016 (Hebrew),

Cross Sector round Table, Ministry of Education, 2018 (Hebrew),
Each government ministry has a director and unit responsible for strategy and planning. These are strongest in the Ministry of Finance, the Malta Planning Authority, the Malta Transport Authority, the Ministry of Justice and Home Affairs, and the Education Ministry. In 2015, a new unit focused on information and the implementation of standards was introduced in the office of the prime minister to facilitate coordination between various stakeholders when implementing projects. Strategic planning has been boosted by the government’s efforts to reduce public debt. The National Statistics Office has also been reformed. Over the last year, the influence of strategic planning units over fiscal and education policy has increase. The success of Malta’s EU presidency, supported by a four-year program that upgraded coordination vertically and horizontally across government entities, has shown the substantive improvements that have been achieved. A Budget Implementation unit also monitors the implementation of policies with relevance to the budget.

Within ministries, the permanent secretary is responsible for developing strategy, including identifying key performance indicators, and determining timeline and budgets. Strategic plans normally run over three-, four- or five-year cycles and are often developed in the course of consultation with internal and external stakeholders. Internationally recognized benchmarking methodologies are used to track progress. These plans typically include strategic priorities, strategic actions, core commitments and deliverables. In some cases, ministries employ consultants to produce reports on current policy issues, a practice that may be regarded as forward planning. The Management Efficiency Unit coordinates separate ministry plans and the Malta Information Technology Agency (MITA), which reviews government IT requirements, also assists. Usually when a policy is to be reformed or updated a strategic plan is released for consultation. It has been proposed that the annual government budget be instead shifted to a multi-year time frame to ensure a greater degree of continuity and long-term planning.
A plan to develop special strategies for disadvantaged regions is being established. Government-allied Member of Parliament Glenn Bedingfield has been tasked with spearheading a soon-to-be launched strategy for Cottonera. The strategy will seek to improve environmental and social standards in this inner-harbor area, and will include short- and long-term restoration goals.
Caleja Ragonesi I., Maltese Presidency aims to make the ordinary extraordinary. Europe’s Word January 2017
Strategic Plan 2017-2020 Academy for disciplined forces Malta
Mobile Government Strategy 2017-2018ffddddf
Ufficcju tal - prim Ministru, Rapport Annwali 2015
The Mexican president is required by law to produce a strategic plan in his first year in office. At a lower level, there are quite a few planning units within the Mexican government, though they do not all have decisive input in the policymaking process. Longer-term, Mexico has committed itself to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and created a specialized technical committee involving 25 federal agencies, which will collect the statistical information required to monitor progress.
Strategic planning was most prominent in the 1960s, 70s and 80s; in the latter decade no fewer than three former planning ministers moved up to the presidency of Mexico. In more general terms, a “passion for planning” stems from the origins of the Institutional Revolutionary Party regime and its corporatist structures within a mixed economy. Mainly as a consequence of market-oriented reforms, the role of planning entities has declined since the late 1980s. This was partly the result of Mexico becoming an export-oriented economy, but also because planning itself was a failure during this period, with Mexico too bound to international economic trends to successfully implement planning decisions.
Planning has seen a resurgence in popularity in recent years. The major challenge to planning in Mexico, and Latin America more generally, consists in creating sufficiently tight links between the agencies responsible for planning, the implementing agencies and powerful interest groups. The implementation of several highly significant recent reforms have put Mexico’s planning skills to the test. This includes the implementation of anti-corruption laws and reforms in the social sector, education reform as well as in energy and telecommunications.
The current Mexican president has faced historically low approval ratings in the final year of his term. Combined with the challenge of the incoming presidency, this has made the president a “lame duck.” Additionally, the incoming president has announced that he will repeal several reforms, such as the education reform. This will limit the chance of successfully implementing strategic plans at the beginning of the new president’s term. It remains to be seen, however, to what extent the new government will be able to plan and implement a coherent sustainability strategy with strong priorities.
Significant strategic planning takes place in the course of governmental decision-making. The Ministry of Finance is a key actor in the long-term planning process, and also presents views during the annual budget cycle on how best to cope with long-term economic challenges and the financing of the welfare state.

The typical procedure for major decisions or reforms entails the following steps: First, the government appoints an ad hoc committee tasked with delivering a detailed report on a particular issue. Some of these committees are composed exclusively of experts, while others have a broader membership that includes politicians and representatives of interested parties such as unions, business confederations and other non-governmental organizations.

For instance, a report to the Ministry of Finance would typically be drafted by high-profile academic economists along with representatives of unions, employers and the central bank. When this procedure leads to legislative action, a proposal is drafted and distributed to interested parties, who are invited to make comments and suggestions (a period of three months for comments is recommended, and six weeks is the minimum period allowed).

Only after comments have been received will the government prepare a proposal for parliament, sometimes in the form of a parliamentary bill, but occasionally only as an initial white paper. Governments deviate from this procedure only in cases of emergency, and any attempt to circumvent it would lead to public criticism.

There is an established procedure for the approval of the annual budget. Activity starts a year in advance, when the government holds three conferences on the budget proposal. The finance minister presents an initial proposal to parliament in the first week of October. A parliamentary committee plays an active role in the budget process, making concrete proposals for the distribution of resources. This proposal becomes the basis of parliamentary discussion. After the parliament approves a proposal for the allocation of resources, it becomes binding for subsequent, more detailed discussions that take place in various parliamentary committees. By December 15, this work is concluded and the final budget is approved by the full parliament.

The shortcomings in governance that were revealed in the course of the July 22 terrorist attacks and their aftermath have resulted in a general downgrade in the scores associated with executive capacity. However, these shortcomings have been mostly rectified in the past several years.

In addition to these procedures, it is customary that long-term reforms are agreed in the coalition government’s negotiating platforms. However, in these negotiations, political ideas and visions are more prominent than evidence-based assessments.
South Korea
Strategic planning remains an important factor in South Korean governance. The office of the president includes a senior secretary and two secretaries for the president for state affairs. President Moon launched the State Affairs Planning Advisory Committee in May 2017. This commission is comprised of key departments specializing in policy and administration, the economy, diplomacy and security, and policy planning. A total of 30 members play an advisory role in assisting the new government in reviewing the structure, function and budget of each government organization. Commission members also help to identify key policies that the government will pursue, and help develop medium and long-term plans to carry out the policies. The plan submitted by the State Affairs Planning Advisory Committee contains policy recommendations to be pursued over the next five years of the Moon administration. The plan includes a national vision of “a Nation of the People, a Just Republic of Korea,” along with 100 concrete policy goals. However, key policies recommended by the committee have not been successful, and its public presence has declined.
Citations: Policy Roadmap of the Moon Jae-in Administration. July 19, 2017. President Moon Unveils Five-year Policy Agenda. July 19, 2017. President Launches Advisory Committee on State Affairs. May 22, 2017.
The idea of reinforcing long-term thinking and smarter policymaking has drawn increasing political attention in Spain during the crisis. Several key areas including economic policy (structural reforms), security and external action, are addressed through strategic documents that receive annual evaluations. However the political instability of the PP minority government (2016 – 2018) and of the subsequent PSOE minority government has undermined the government’s strategic-planning capacities.

During 2018, sectoral strategies have been published or announced in the areas of foreign policy, cybersecurity, the pensions system, poverty reduction and gender equality. The Prime Minister’s Office, which is the central actor for the government strategic planning, has been reinforced and new policy units (the High Commissioner for Combating Child Poverty and the High Commissioner for the Agenda 2030) have been established, helping to bolster the government’s priorities and expertise. In July 2018, the Council of Ministers approved the Action Plan for the Implementation of the 2030 Agenda: Towards a Strategy for Sustainable Development, in which all ministerial departments, regions, local authorities and civil society organizations participated.
Government (2018), Implementation of the 2030 Agenda:
The Dutch government has four strategic-planning units. All of these are formally part of a ministry, but their statutes guarantee them independent watchdog and advisory functions.

The Scientific Council for Government Policy (Wetenschappelijke Raad voor het Regeringsbeleid, WRR) advises the government on intersectoral issues of great future importance and policies for the longer term and weak coordination of the work plans of the other strategic planning units. It is part of the prime minister’s Department of General Affairs and is the only advisory council for long-term strategic-policy issues. In 2018, WRR advice focused on shifting long-term health care policy priorities from decreasing health differences to increasing health potentials for the whole population, and massively increasing the (super)diversity of people living in the Netherlands. Linked to CBS reports on the future demographic dynamics, members of parliament have called for an ad hoc advisory commission on long-term population growth.

The Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis (Centraal Planbureau, CPB) is part of the Department of Economic Affairs. It prepares standard annual economic assessments and forecasts (Centraal Economisch Plan, Macro-Economische Verkenningen), and cost-benefit analyses for large-scale infrastructural projects. In election years, it assesses the macroeconomic impacts of political parties’ electoral platforms. For more than 200 days after the March elections in 2017, while the cabinet was being formed, the CPB was an important background advisor in calculating the financial scope for new policy initiatives, for example, a major policy strategy in the Climate Agreement and a more flexible (individualized) pension system.

The Netherlands Institute for Social Research (Sociaal-Cultureel Planbureau, SCP) is part of the Department of Public Health, Welfare and Sports. The SCP conducts policy-relevant scientific research on the present and future of Dutch social and cultural issues – for example, political engagement and participation of citizens, media and culture, family and youth, care, housing. Jointly with CPB, PBL, and CBS the SCP in 2018 initiated ‘Monitor Integrated Prosperity’ (“Monitor Brede Welvaart”) to move away from narrowly economic indicators, and systematically inform policymakers about a much broader set of indicators for prosperity in the Netherlands.

The Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency (Planbureau voor de Leefomgeving, PBL) is part of the Department of Infrastructure and Environment. It is the national institute for strategic policy analysis for the environment, nature and spatial policies. During the 2017 cabinet formation process, the influence of the PBL and high-level civil servants was visible in the long list of energy transition policy initiatives. In 2017 – 2018, the PBL focused on issues of energy transition (given that gas exploitation is being scaled back) and the circular economy.

Long-term steering capacity has traditionally been strong in water management and is increasingly strong in climate change adaptation.
In 2016, the Dutch Association for Public Administration called for the mobilization of more strategic knowledge and steering capacity in national governance. In 2018, evidence that this call has been heeded has accumulated. Translation to cabinet decision-making, however, appears to be lagging.
R. Hoppe, 2014. Patterns of science/policy interaction in The Netherlands, in P. Scholten & F. van Nispen, Policy Analysis in the Netherlands, Policy Press, Bristol (ISBN 9781447313335)

P. ‘t Hart, De opgave centraal. Festival Bestuurskunde, 13 September 2016 (platform, consulted November 8 2016)

P. Bloem et al., 2018. Designing a century ahead: climate change adaptation in the Dutch Delta, in Policy & Society

CPB, CBS, SCP, PBL, Verkenning en Monitor Brede Welvaart (

Universiteit Leiden, Wollige troonrede reflecteert brede coalitie, (>2018/09)

Elsevier, Kamerleden willen onderzoek naar bevolkingsgroei, 20 September 2018
Although the United Kingdom has one of the most centralized political systems and is one of the long-established liberal democracies in the world, the resources directly available to the prime minister are relatively limited compared with those available to other heads of government. Formally, there is no prime ministerial department to provide strategic planning or advice, although the Cabinet Office provides an important coordinating role across government and its head, the cabinet secretary, attends cabinet meetings. The cabinet secretary is also the head of the civil service, after the two roles were separated under the previous coalition government, and chairs the quarterly Projects Commissioning Board. In 2014, the post of chief executive of the civil service was created with the incumbent becoming a permanent secretary of the Cabinet Office in 2015. The Projects Commissioning Board works closely with the Economic and Domestic Affairs Secretariat (EDS), established in summer 2015, which fosters future and innovative projects. A substantial effort has been made since 2010 to modernize the civil service, including its strategic capacity, with a cabinet-level minister taking the lead. A civil service reform plan was launched in 2012 and led by the Cabinet Office. Establishing policymaking as a profession is one of the stated goals, a task that will have potentially long-term consequences for steering capability and strategic capacity.

At a political level, a special advisory unit has supported all recent prime ministers. George Freeman, Conservative member of parliament for Mid Norfolk, has led the current unit, the Prime Minister’s Policy Board, since shortly after Theresa May became prime minster in July 2016, but it was disbanded in the wake of the 2017 general election. Special advisers and civil servants staff these advisory units. The remit of the Number 10 Policy Unit is defined by the prime minister but tends to focus on strategic political and policy decisions. In 2012, the prime minister and deputy prime minister established a dedicated Implementation Unit within the Cabinet Office, charged with driving implementation in areas deemed to be of high priority and now reinforced by the creation of implementation task forces to oversee the delivery of policy initiatives. All government departments have been required by the new government to produce single departmental plans, which serve both to define their strategic objectives and to enable them to be monitored more effectively.

However, political uncertainty has made strategic planning harder. After Theresa May lost the Conservatives’ parliamentary majority in the 2017 general election, she has led a minority government dependent on a “confidence-and-supply” agreement with the DUP, a Northern Irish unionist party. In addition, Conservative members of parliament – from both extremes of the Brexit spectrum – keep attacking their own government’s plans.

Two of the prime minister’s most vocal opponents in cabinet, David Davis (Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union) and Boris Johnson (Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs), resigned in protest to the so-called Chequers agreement on the Brexit negotiations, while two more (Raab and McVey, also from the euro-skeptic faction within the cabinet) resigned in November 2018. The cabinet’s collective ability to make strategic decisions continues to be weakened by Brexit-related in-fighting.

Institute for Government (2014) Whitehall Monitor 2014 A data-driven analysis of the size, shape and performance of Whitehall (
Under the central-government reform implemented by the Koizumi government in 2001, the role of lead institutions was considerably strengthened. The unit officially in charge of “policy planning and comprehensive policy coordination on crucial and specific issues in the cabinet” is the Cabinet Office (Naikaku-fu), which assists the prime minister and his cabinet. It is supported by a well-staffed Cabinet Secretariat (Naikaku-kanbō). The Cabinet Office also coordinates a number of policy councils including the Council on Economic and Fiscal Policy. While there is a certain amount of overlap between councils concerning strategic issues, and thus the danger of fuzzy demarcations of responsibility, the councils have at least contributed to informing the governmental and public discourses in a constructive manner. While individual line ministries have strategic-planning units staffed with mid-ranking officials, their actual influence on long-term planning seems to be limited compared to the clout of bureau chiefs and more senior officials such as administrative vice-ministers. Policy-planning units tend to have very few staff members.
Kotaro Tsuru, Where Has the Growth Strategy Gone? Working style reform is the way to go, Article translated by RIETI from Nihon Keizai Shimbun of November 10, 2015, 10 February 2016,

N. N., Abe seeks to undermine tripartite system in labor policymaking process, Japan Press Weekly, 8 August 2016,
Strategic planning units and bodies take a long-term view of policy challenges and viable solutions. Occasionally, they exert some influence on government decision-making.
The most important systematic strategic-planning process is related to the requirements of EU membership and the necessity of preparing strategy and programs within the EU framework. These include the convergence program, the reform program as a part of the European Union’s 2020 strategy, and concrete strategical considerations justifying the setting of priorities for EU funds absorption. Under the macroeconomic imbalances procedure of the European Union, which categorizes Bulgaria as a country with imbalances, Bulgaria is obliged to integrate specific European Commission recommendations into the development of policy strategies.

There are national strategies on security, energy, governance and development of water resources, development of scientific research, Roma integration, physical education and sport, which serve for some long-term orientation. These strategies have been prepared in coordination with various ministries and on the basis of extensive discussions with the relevant expert communities. They are overseen by the line ministries and parliamentary committees responsible for these policy areas. Presently, the Council of Ministers’ portal for public consultations lists 165 “active” strategic documents relating to the national level, more than 20 of which have a term that reaches beyond 2020.
Strategic documents at the national level (a list of documents in Bulgarian), available at:
Since joining the EU in 2013, strategic-planning capacity in Croatia has increased substantially, in part due to the learning process that took place during the accession period, but also thanks to Croatia’s inclusion in the EU strategic-planning exercise organized within the framework of the European Semester. The Plenković governments have taken the drafting of the annual national reform programs, as required by the European Commission, rather seriously. Despite the introduction of these institutional and procedural arrangements, policymaking in Croatia continues to be dominated by short-term political interests. Strategic decisions are still very often made pro forma, lack political support and end up being shelved. Also, in numerous cases, strategies are inconsistent and lack some of the elements that strategic documents should contain. In his October 2018 report on the government’s activities in the past year, Prime Minister Plenković did not mention the issue of strategic planning when talking about public administration. However, strategic planning has become a relatively strong tool of some local and regional self-government units. Having realized that success in drawing EU funds largely depends on the quality of strategic planning, they have started using this tool in their policy planning.
Petak, Z. (2018) Policy-Making Context and Challenges of Governance in Croatia, in: Z. Petak, K. Kotarski (eds.), Policy-Making at the European Periphery: The Case of Croatia. Cham: Palgrave Macmillan, 29-45.
While the institutional infrastructure for strategic planning in Czechia remains relatively weak, a number of strategic frameworks exist, partly resulting from EU pressure. In April 2017, the government approved the strategic framework Czechia 2030, setting long-term priorities for the development of the country. The document, which built on the 2010 Strategic Framework for Sustainable Development, sets out the direction of development for the next decade in order to help the country achieve development which is socially, economically and environmentally sustainable and to improve the quality of life for the Czech population in all regions. However, it has played a limited role in guiding the planning activities of the different ministries, and Prime Minister Babiš has paid little reference to the strategic framework so far. A medium-term perspective is provided by the government’s policy manifesto, which is presented to the Chamber of Deputies for a vote of confidence. In addition, the government prepares action plans for individual policy fields in cooperation with interest groups and academic and other experts.
French governments commonly refer to ad hoc committees tasked with providing information on crucial issues. In some cases, a report is requested from a single individual. Committee members are mainly high-level civil servants, former or active politicians and academics, and often are chosen on the basis of their sympathy to the government in office at the time. Some reports are made public but others remain unpublished, in particular when the report’s proposals appear too provocative to be accepted by social partners. This situation raises the concern that opportunism may prevail over real strategic planning.

The only bodies that take a long-term view in terms of strategic planning are bureaucratic departments such as those that are part of the finance or foreign affairs ministries. The committee of economic advisers attached to the prime minister’s office produces reports on its own initiative or at the office’s request. Its impact on actual policymaking is limited, however.

France Stratégie, an interesting think tank attached to the prime minister, has recently developed into a body of strategic planning and policy evaluation, although its impact on governmental policy is uncertain for the time being. OECD reports are not part of national strategic planning, but they are rather influential as they compare countries’ performances and capacities to adjust to future challenges.
Since September 2017, the government has been led by Germany’s two largest political parties: the Christian Democrats (CDU/CSU) and the Social Democratic Party (SPD). The previous CDU/CSU-SPD government demonstrated little interest in improving the strategic planning of the Chancellery or federal government. However, the new government has rearranged the organizational structure of the Chancellery and introduced a new section (“Abteilung 6”) for political planning, innovation and digital politics, thus expanding the number of sections from six to seven. The head of the new section is Eva Christiansen, who is also a media adviser to Chancellor Angela Merkel.

The new head of the Chancellery, Helge Braun, previously coordinator for the relations between the central government and the Länder, has the status of a minister without portfolio, strengthening his position vis-á-vis the minister-presidents of the federal states and heads of the federal ministries. The Chancellery is constantly expanding and it currently employees 600 people. In spite of the new planning section in the Chancellery, planning is not a well-integrated part of the politics and policies of the new government nor is it a high priority for the federal government.

One handicap for developing a strategic policy approach is that the government is strongly influenced by party considerations, with all major political decisions determined in negotiations between the heads of the governing parties. Consequently, most governmental decisions are negotiated between the three heads of the parties that make up the current government (the CDU, CSU and SPD) and not between members of the government. This practice results in “party politicization” of the government, which undermines strategic planning. In addition, Chancellor Merkel’s leadership style can be described as time-oriented reactivity which is precluding goal- and future-oriented planning.
The concept of strategic planning is not particularly developed in Italian governmental and administrative culture. This is in part due to the fact that governments have been predominantly preoccupied with coalition problems and that the administration is still very much guided by a legalistic culture. Nevertheless, some progress has been made with recent governments. Recent government programs have been more detailed, and become significant instruments for organizing and planning government activity. Within the government office (called the Presidency of the Council of Ministers, or Presidenza del Consiglio), a special department guided by a minister without portfolio has been created to oversee the implementation of this program. This department produces regular reports on the program’s implementation status.
Given the political weakness of the new prime minister, Conte, relative to the two deputy prime ministers (and coalition party leaders), it is likely that the strategic planning of this cabinet will be downplayed.
The financial aspect of strategic planning is in general more developed, as the treasury has to implement rigorous budgetary stability goals and works within a triennial perspective. However, the minister of finance has a weaker role under the new government compared to the previous Gentiloni government.
Motivated by EU demands, as well as by the objective of improving the country’s absorption and use of EU funds, the planning capacities of the Chancellery of the Prime Minister (Kancelaria Prezesa Rady Ministrów, KPRM) were expanded following EU accession. The PiS government has relied on this framework, and has developed its own long-term Strategy for Responsible Development. This program was presented by the then-serving Minister of Development Mateusz Morawiecki in February 2016, and has since been refined. Ultimately, however, policymaking under the PiS government has been guided by the visions and inspirations of PiS party leader Jarosław Kaczyński.
There have been virtually no changes with regard to strategic capacity. While there are strategic planning bodies in most ministries, their impact remains limited. The prime minister’s advisory cabinet is more influential, but it has to deal with a number of day-to-day demands in addition to offering a long-term view on policy challenges and viable solutions. Immediate issues tend to gain precedence over long-term policy planning. The government’s minority status, which makes it dependent on the parliamentary support of three other parties in the parliament, has not contributed to an increase in strategic planning.
Strategic planning is not given significant weight in Switzerland. It is further rendered difficult by the fact that the country has a quasi-presidential political system (meaning the government cannot be voted out of office by the parliament) with a collegial government, a strong non-professional element, a consociational decision-making structure, a strong corporatist relationship between a weak federal state and outside interest organizations, and considerable uncertainty deriving from the system of direct democracy.

The Swiss government is not strictly speaking a parliamentary government, and does not have a policy agenda comparable to a “normal” parliamentary government. Furthermore, all seven members of the government have equal rights and powers; there is no prime minister. The president of the government is primus inter pares. He or she is not leader of the government in the sense of a prime minister.

Strategic planning is the task of the Federal Chancellery, the central coordinating body of the federal administration. With the new chancellor, Walter Turnheer, elected in 2016, strategic planning has been given more weight as part of the new public management model implemented in the federal administration. In November 2017, the Federal Council announced its strategic goals for 2018.
All public institutions, including municipalities, special provincial administrations (laws 5216, 5302 and 5393) and state-owned economic enterprises (KİTs), but excluding regulatory and supervisory bodies, must prepare strategic plans according to Law 5018 (2003) on Public Financial Management and Control and the By-law on Principles and Procedures for Strategic Planning in Public Administrations (2006).

Ministries have established strategic-planning units, creating the need for inner- and interministerial coordination and cooperation on present and future tasks and problems. In general, the Prime Minister’s Office, the Ministries of Finance, Development and Interior, the Turkish Grand National Assembly, the Turkish Court of Audit, and the Board of Internal Audit are the primary institutions involved in the process of strategic planning. The High Planning Board of the Ministry of Development was reorganized and is now the Presidential Board of Economic Policies, which is in charge of coordinating development plans and annual programs, and determining investment and export incentives. Under the current system of government, the Head of Strategy and Budget is affiliated with the Presidential Office.

Strategic management within the Turkish public administration faces several challenges. Public institutions in general have insufficient strategic-management capacity. Strategic plans, performance programs, budgets and activity reports are prepared with little if any coordination. Although a total of 890 internal auditors are employed across 382 public institutions, the Turkish public administration as a whole has failed to develop an effective internal-audit system. There is no relationship between political strategy documents and lower-level policy materials, and little coordination between associated institutions. Difficulties in gaining access to relevant information within public administrative bodies and insufficient human resource capacities are additional major contributors to this failure. There are also no cumulative statistics on the frequency of meetings between strategic-planning staff members and government heads. In general, these meetings are held once a year and during budget negotiations. However, there is no harmony between strategic plans and governmental decisions.

During the review period, the 2016 – 2019 National e-Government Strategy and Action Plan was prepared. The plan envisages an integrated, technological, participatory, innovative and high-quality Effective e-Government Ecosystem, and takes into account national and international considerations. Following the June 2018 early elections, a new medium-term program and the 2019 Annual Presidential Program was also announced. Under the new governmental system, the coordination of strategic planning will be a major focus.
European Commission Turkey Report 2018,…/sites/…/20180417-turkey-report.pdf, (accessed 27 October 2018)
TC Kalkınma Bakanlığı, Kamuda Stratejik Yönetim Çalışma Grubu Raporu, Onuncu Kalkınma Planı (2014-2018), 2015. (accessed 7 November 2016)
Kamu İdarelerince Hazırlanacak Stratejik Planlara Dair Tebliğ, Resmi Gazete, 30 April 2015, (accessed 1 November 2018)
TC Hazine ve Maliye Bakanlığı, Yeni Orta Vadeli Program, Dengeleme- Disiplin- Değişim, 2019-2021,,yeni-ekonomi-programipdf.pdf?0 (accessed 27 October 2018)
2019 Yılı Cumhurbaşkanlığı Programı, (accessed 27 October 2018)
Sait Aşgın ve Kemal Yaman, “Türkiye’de Bakanlıkların Stratejik Plan Uygulamalarında Mevcut Yapı ve Sürecin Değerlendirilmesi,” International Journal of Academic Value Studies, 4(19), 2018: 449-466.
The U.S. government has multiple units that analyze policy issues, and that make long-term projections as part of the assessment of current options. The Executive Office of the president has multiple staffs and analytic agencies. On the legislative side, the Congressional Budget Office analyzes the 10-year fiscal impact of all bills with budget implications. Expertise about long-term considerations is available in abundance, in the agencies, Congress and the White House.

In most areas of government and policy, President Trump has shown virtually no interest in long-range planning, professional expertise or even organized, careful deliberation. Economists are notably absent among his high-level economic advisers and appointees. In national security policy, he has favored senior military officers, but often relied on his own untutored preferences and impulses. His White House has featured essentially no conventionally organized advisory and decision-making processes.

In Congress, the Republican leadership has sought to overcome popular resistance to its major policies on health care and taxes by avoiding public hearings or bipartisan discussion of any kind. Instead, bills are drafted in secret within Republican task forces and brought to a vote with the expectation of strict party voting. Republican leaders have tried to prevent the ten-year budget effects “scoring” of bills normally provided by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.

The vast majority of government departments and agencies have witnessed devastating losses of high-level staff, both because the Trump White House has failed to make political appointments to many positions and because long-serving civil service experts have left agencies due to pressure or discouragement.
Reforms launched in 2014 began integrating strategic planning into the country’s administrative practices, a key omission over previous years. To this effect, the competences of the Planning Bureau, renamed “Directorate General for European Programs, Coordination and Development” (DGEPCD) were extended to include planning, coordination, monitoring, and evaluation. However, the intended tasks have been drastically reduced, with decisive powers remaining with the Ministry of Finance.

The law on fiscal responsibility was adopted in 2014 aiming to enable the government to identify goals and design policy actions based on strategic planning. Its implementation has stalled as attempts to enhance the capacity and planning of personnel have been constrained by the absence of political will. Planning is fragmented between ministries, capacity levels remain low and not all services are involved. A central coordination body and planning with broader participation are missing. As a result, planning is dominated by the budgetary and fiscal considerations of the Ministry of Finance. Additionally, efforts for coherent strategic planning are likely to be compromised by ad hoc policies, such as the citizenship-by-investment scheme.
1. The Cyprus Investment Programme, or Citizenship by Investment,
Strategic planning has long proved difficult for the central government in Athens thanks in large part to the archipelago-like character of governance involving conflicting political interests, clientelism and a highly formalistic administrative culture that fosters segmentation. Weak horizontal coordination within and among ministries, government agencies and state-owned companies make matters worse.

Strategic planning was included, at least for the period from 2015 to 2018, in the Third Memorandum of Understanding signed between Greece and its creditors. Progress was noted in August 2018 upon completion of this memorandum. For example, the Independent Public Revenue Authority was established and the authorities made progress in adopting a General Transport Master Plan, covering all transport modes (i.e., road, railway, maritime, air and multi-modal), including logistical aspects. This requisite strategic planning, however, did not hold in policy areas not covered in a binding manner by the memorandum, such as public order, education, culture and sports. In these policy areas, instead of strategic planning, there remains much experimentation and improvisation on the part of the government.

In early 2018, the government released a post-bailout development strategy (entitled “Greece: A Growth Strategy for the Future”). The strategy was revised twice by the European Commission before its public presentation and is divided into five chapters: Fiscal Viability, Sustainable Development, Structural Conditions for Growth, Just Development Without Exclusion, and Funding of Development. The strategy has been criticized by the opposition as more of a wish list than an integrated plan for the country to regain its footing. According to the document, the monitoring and assessment of the strategy “will be conducted by a high-level political committee under the prime minister’s control” while at the technical level the monitoring of reforms will be undertaken by the General Secretariat for Coordination.
A brief official description of the Third Economic Adjustment Program for Greece, up to August 2018, is available by the Council of the European Union, at

Greece: A Growth Strategy for the Future
The country´s small size and consequently small size of its administration, does not allow for sufficient strategic planning. Only a few public bodies offer simulations, such as the National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies Luxembourg (STATEC) and the General Inspectorate of Social Security (Inspection Générale de la Sécurité Sociale, IGSS). The State Economic and Social Council (Conseil économique et social) and the merged public research institute LISER offer more qualitative analyses. The research department of the central bank (Banque Centrale du Luxembourg) and the general inspectorate of the financial sector (Commission de surveillance du secteur financier, CSSF), focus on economics and finance planning. While these institutions are state-financed, they are nevertheless insufficiently equipped to offer long-term planning activities. For instance, State Economic and Social Council reports are partially written by civil servants from the relevant ministry departments. Strategic planning is mostly performed by institutions abroad, which offer the advantage of independence and guidance via international standards. Once a report is submitted, negotiations begin between the minister and promoters; the final compromise is a draft of the project, designed abroad.
“Autres acteurs.” Le portail des statistiques du Luxembourg. Accessed 23 Oct. 2018.

Banque centrale du Luxembourg. Accessed 23 Oct. 2018.

Commission de Surveillance du Secteur Financier. Accessed 23 Oct. 2018.

Conseil économique et social. Accessed 23 Oct. 2018.

Luxembourg Institute of Socio-Economic Research. Accessed 23 Oct. 2018.
The institutional capacity for strategic planning in Slovakia is weak. Capacities for planning in the ministries are limited, and there is no central policy planning unit in the Government Office. The fragmented nature and the rigid departmentalism of public administration in the country have complicated strategic planning. So has the high degree of staff turnover which, driven as it is by a politicized public administration, limits the continuity of institutional expertise. The strengthening of the expertise of the Government Office and the creation of the Council for Solidarity and Development (an advisory body established under the second Fico government) have failed to improve planning capacities in any substantial way. The council has been a facade for dialog, primarily used by Prime Minister Fico, who chaired it, for exposing his political plans. Since the government reshuffle in March 2018, the institutional capacity for strategic planning has remained unchanged.
The institutional capacity for strategic planning in Slovenia is rather weak. Capacities for planning in the ministries are limited, and there is no central policy-planning unit in the Government Office. After assuming office, the Cerar government announced that it would expand planning capacities but achieved little progress. In December 2017, however, the government finally adopted the Slovenian Development Strategy 2030, a strategic framework for policymaking in the country. Preparation of the strategy started in June 2016 and involved more than 200 experts and government officials. The strategy sets five strategic goals: an inclusive and safe society; an education system that supports lifelong learning; a productive and equitable economy that creates added value for everyone; the preservation of Slovenia’s natural environment; and a cooperative, competent and efficient system of governance.
Government of the Republic of Slovenia (2017): Slovenian Development Strategy 2030. Ljubljana (
The Orbán governments have subordinated all political actions to the goal of consolidating their power and have reacted to problems and challenges on a day-to-day basis, without reference to an over-reaching plan. The economic and fiscal priorities have frequently shifted, and not much effort has been invested in building institutional capacities for strategic planning. After the 2014 local elections, Orbán promised to elaborate a long-term development strategy for the country but has failed to do so thus far. In late 2016, the government announced the adoption of the third Széll Kálman Plan, a new plan for economic development in the tradition of two strategic documents adopted in 2011 and 2012. Instead of drawing up such a plan, however, the Orbán government became increasingly preoccupied with the campaign for the parliamentary elections in April 2018 and switched to a “campaign government” modus in fall 2017. Since the 2018 elections, the government has begun preparing a long-term technocratic modernization project to be managed by the newly created Ministry for Innovation and Technology (ITM).
Long-term strategic planning in Iceland is often vague, with comparatively weak execution, supervision, and revision of plans. When specific objectives are established in the policy planning phase, a lack of sufficient incentives or institutional mechanisms typically limits their realization. As a result, the government can delay or change strategic plans. For example, parliament approves a strategic regional policy every four years (Stefnumótandi byggðaáætlun), but – as this plan has the status of a parliamentary resolution and not legal status – the government has no binding obligation to implement the plan. Consequently, only certain aspects of these four-year plans have ever been implemented.

Policymaking is monitored by cabinet ministers who rely on their respective ministerial staff for advice and assistance.
Special Investigation Committee (SIC) (2010), Report of the Special Investigation Commission (SIC), report delivered to parliament 12 April.

Stefnumótandi byggðaáætlun 2018-2024. Accessed 22 December 2018.
While EU membership has forced the Romanian government to produce regular strategic documents, policymaking in Romania has long suffered from a lack of strategic planning. Subsequent governments have emphasized their commitment to strengthening planning. In addition to a strategic planning calendar, Government Emergency Ordinance 49/2017 proposed a novel link between public institutions’ strategic plans and the country’s annual budgetary process. Romania’s 2018 National Reform Program has declared strategic planning a key priority for the government, highlighting recent improvements in the implementation of the Annual Working Plan of the Government as well as plans for the establishment of a new Strategy Unit through World Bank assistance. Most recently, in June 2018, the Senate adopted a draft bill for “Romania 2040,” which outlines plans for the development of a long-term national strategy through a multi-stakeholder commission that would direct government policy for years to come, a move which has prompted criticism from the National Liberal Party (PNL). As it stands, however, these moves have so far done little to improve strategic planning in practice.
Romanian Government (2018): National Reform Program 2018. Bucharest (
In practice, there are no units and bodies taking a long-term view of policy challenges and viable solutions.
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