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.
Despite being a small country, Denmark prioritizes the provision of and contributions to global public goods, 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 EU and other transnational and international organizations. During the years of the euro area debt crisis, the German government played a leading role in organizing and creating stabilization mechanisms. The government cooperated closely with European partners (particularly France), other countries such as the United States, and international organizations in addressing the Crimea crisis and the civil war in eastern Ukraine.

Moreover, Germany played a significant role in achieving a consensus at the Paris Climate Summit in November 2015. At the International Climate Conference in December 2018 in Katowice, Poland, however, Germany was not able to play an important role in fostering climate protection. Environmental Minister Svenja Schulze, together with some industrial and developing countries, called for greater ambition in the attendees’ climate policies. However, Germany’s credibility was impaired by the fact that it was not compliant with its own emissions-reduction targets. However, Germany took action during the current review period to reestablish itself as a climate-policy leader: Through its new climate-protection act, Germany has initiated various measures including a comprehensive CO2 price intended to reduce emissions. This policy will strengthen the country’s credibility in future international negotiations.

In the area of asylum policy, Germany is today one of the strong supporters of a joint EU approach based on solidarity and equal sharing. Clearly, the dramatic years with record numbers of refugees reaching Germany in 2015 – 2016 demonstrated to Germany that the task of refugee reception may go beyond the capabilities of a single country, even one as large and economically well-performing as Germany.

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.
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) 2018)
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).

Jochem, S. (2020), Das politische System Schwedens (Wiesbaden: Springer VS).

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. In its climate policy, Finland is committed to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the Paris Agreement and EU legislation. 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. Finland held the chair of the Arctic Council between 2017 and 2019, the presidency of the Nordic Council of Ministers in 2016, and the presidency of the Nordic Council in 2017. These and other commitments notwithstanding, Finland cannot be regarded a dominant actor with regard to protecting global public goals. Given its relatively high level of knowledge, strong 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. The Rinne government’s program underlined the importance of climate protection and ecological sustainability, and aimed at solidifying Finland’s pioneering role in this area worldwide, but it remains to be seen how these goals will be realized.
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.

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 European Monetary Union (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, he 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 has sought 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, and the Yellow Vest crisis has forced him to postpone or scale back his financial and budgetary ambitions.
Japan is actively involved in G-7 and G-20 mechanisms. While the country has a lower profile in international and global settings than might be expected in view of its global economic standing, the growing linkages between international economic and political issues have helped the Abe-led government to raise its profile, for instance by chairing the 2019 G-20 summit. Japan established an “Osaka Track” framework for free and secure cross-border data flows, created an initiative to tackle marine plastic litter, and has been a prime mover for the G-20 Action Agenda on Adaptation and Resilient Infrastructure relating to global ecological calamities.

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, such as the Partnership for Quality Infrastructure in 2015 – 2016; the Free and Open Indo-Pacific Strategy of 2016, which also includes Australia, India and the United States; and an invigoration of its development cooperation with Africa, particularly in the context of the 2019 meeting of the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD).
Mitsuru Obe, Japan Parliament Approves Overseas Military Expansion, The Wall Street Journal, 18 September 2015,

Werner Pascha, The political economy of new multilateral initiatives in Pacific Asia, in: Carmen Mendes (ed.): China’s New Silk Road. An Emerging World Order, Routledge: London and New York, 2019, pp. 69-86

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

Paul Goldstein, Japan’s growing geostrategic role, The Japan Times, 23 June 2019,
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.
“Mémorial A n° 61 de 2012.” Journal officiel du Grand-Duché de Luxembourg, 29 March 2012. Accessed 21 Feb. 2019.
New Zealand
In general, New Zealand’s political system stands out for its capacity to coordinate among different government agencies and enforcing policies effectively. However, when it comes to tackling global challenges and implementing multilateral frameworks, the picture is mixed. This suggests that, in some policy areas, it is political will – rather than institutional capacity – that poses the main obstacle. For example, New Zealand performs relatively well in terms of working toward inclusive economic development at the global level. The country is a signatory to a number of multilateral free-trade agreements with developing countries, and – crucially – these agreements have been transposed into domestic law and their implementation is effectively coordinated across different ministries, such as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the Ministry for Primary Industries. In November 2019, the country passed the Climate Change Response (Zero Carbon) Amendment Act. However, the success of its implementation remains to be seen.
Climate Action Tracker, New Zealand (
New Zealand Trade and Enterprise, Market access: International agreements and non-tariff barriers (
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. There is also a strong tradition for Nordic cooperation and coordination on a range of policy fields.

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 sought 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 was a reflection of this. In addition, António Costa was ranked ninth in the Politico “28 Class of 2018,” which listed “the 28 people who are shaping, shaking and stirring Europe.”
Politico, “28 Class of 2018 – The ranking,” available online at:
The years 2018 and 2019 were important 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 and as a permanent guest at the G-20 summits. In 2019, as a member of the U.N. Human Rights Council (2018 – 2020), the government supported, among other things, resolutions addressing violence and discrimination against women and girls in the workplace, an initiative on equal pay, and the declaration on the 40th anniversary of the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women.

The government also 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 U.N., NATO and EU missions). In November 2019, the government decided to host the United Nations’ climate change summit after the Chilean government pulled out from holding the event.

During the period under review, the PSOE government tried to find a common European answer to dealing with the migration challenge. Spain had previously played a very small role in addressing the refugee crisis, while concentrating on domestic problems. However, the political instability of the government and the lack of support for the 2019 budget again focused attention on domestic issues.

Moreover, Spain also played an important role in the negotiation of a budgetary instrument to promote convergence and competitiveness in the euro zone.
Forbes, July 2019 “What Happened To The Eurozone Budget? Spain’s Ambition Collides With The Netherlands”

Council on foreign relations, A Conversation with Pedro Sánchez –

Spanish government 2019, 41st session of the Human Rights Council concludes.
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. Prime Minister Trudeau has repeatedly sought to carve out an active role for Canada in international bodies such as the United Nations. The government has reaffirmed its commitment to be a strong voice on the international stage, and has submitted Canada’s candidacy to serve on the UN Security Council in 2021 – 2022, a seat not held since 2000.

Canada has 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 development of recent climate policies designed to meet the country’s Paris targets. In 2018, Canada resettled more Syrian refugees than any other country, according to government statistics gathered by UNHCR.

UNHCR, Global Trends: Forced Displacement in 2018, available at
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/
Lithuania actively engages in international policy cooperation on behalf of democracy and market-economic systems, in particular by providing reform support to its eastern neighbors (the Eastern Partnership countries), 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. Lithuanian authorities have actively pushed the United Nations and other international organizations to refrain from recognizing Russia’s occupation and annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol.

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 Astravyets, 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 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 a minister of general and European affairs, with heavy support from the minister of finance. The Dutch and the Germans routinely put the brakes on further unification of EU policies in the policy domain of banking and finance; moreover, the Dutch have resisted efforts to dismantle tax and financial rules that have turned the Netherlands into a tax haven for American and Russian capital. The vice-president of the European Commission, Timmermans, is a former Dutch minister. In the close race to succeed Juncker as president of the European Commission, he was the lead candidate for the Socialists in the European Parliament, but ultimately lost. 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 UN 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

De Correspondent, 1 March 2019. Nederland blijft EU-plannen dwarsbomen die zijn positie als belastingparadijs bedreigen. (, accessed 3 November 2019)

NPO, 7 May 2019. Hoekstra wil leidende rol Duitsland in gemoderniseerde EU.
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, participates in 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.

The NATO Cooperative Cyber Defense Centre of Excellence (CDCE) was established on the initiative of Estonia. 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.

At the end of 2019, the government declared its support for the European Commission’s long-term goal to make Europe climate neutral by 2050 (after initially opposing the goal with three other central and eastern European countries). To coordinate and advance activities in this area, an interministerial commission on climate and energy has been established by the Government Office.
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 European Union has suffered from Slovakia aligning with the position of other Visegrád countries in the EU refugee crisis and from Speaker of Parliament Andrej Danko’s ongoing “flirtation” with Russia. The Pellegrini government has sought to reposition Slovakia among the core group of EU member states, and has been keen to distance Slovakia from some 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 resulting loss of credibility complicated Slovakia’s OSCE chairmanship in 2019.
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 have already inhibited international coordination with the United Kingdom’s European partners and may inhibit coordination with other countries in the future.
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.
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. However, the Howard and Abbott governments failed to make constructive contributions to international forums. For example, the Abbott government permitted the G-20 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 steered a much more cooperative course over his term in office, but Scott Morrison has reverted to a stance that emphasizes Australia’s narrowly defined economic and political interests.
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.

Between 2017 and 2019, the ÖVP-FPÖ coalition 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.

As the incoming government will differ in structure from the old one, the new government might adopt a more integrated and EU-friendly attitude. However, there will always be a temptation to use the complexities of the EU decision-making process to use the European Union as a “scapegoat” for easy domestic political gains.
Croatia has supported major global reform initiatives, especially in environmental affairs. However, the Plenković governments have not paid much 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 not a founding member of the United Nations, but joined in 1946. Iceland was a founding member 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, contributing to 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.
With the PiS government, Poland’s international orientation has changed. Steps leading toward deeper integration have been contested and PiS has been more critical than its predecessors of Germany’s role in the European Union. Because of this intransigence, Poland’s reputation and standing within the European Union have suffered. While Prime Minister Morawiecki and Foreign Minister Czaputowicz have been more urbane than their predecessors, the government’s basic approach toward the European Union has not changed much so far. Poland wants to play an active role within NATO and has tried to establish a closer bilateral relationship with the United States, which has also been perceived as a form of side-diplomacy outside the usual channels. Within the Visegrád group (Hungary, Czech Republic, Slovakia) collaboration is closer and more collective – a tendency that also stretches to other countries in the region – although differing attitudes toward Russia is a source of division between these countries. Unlike the other Visegrád countries, Poland has strongly supported the sanctions imposed on Russia by the European Union.
Regarding climate change measures and energy policy, the government also stresses national interests, which follow the interests of the coal industry and not the interests of future generations, and is less eager to foster global public goods in Poland and abroad. In this respect, Poland was eager to block any progress at the European Council summit in June 2019. Together with Hungary, Estonia and the Czech Republic, Poland blocked the EU decision on becoming CO2 neutral by 2050, which led to extensive public discussions, among others, with the French president, Emmanuel Macron.
Buras, P. (2019): State of disunion: Europe, NATO, and disintegrating arms control,. London: European Council on Foreign Relations (

Łada, A. (2018): Squaring the circle? EU budget negotiations after Brexit – considering CEE perspective, Instytut Spraw Publicznych, Policy Brief 1, Warsaw (
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 Šarec government has been preoccupied with domestic political and economic issues and has 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. The first court hearing took place in July 2019.
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
Bulgarian government bodies do possess the capacity to correspond with, coordinate with and participate in international processes and initiatives. 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 with regard to international commitments, and recently an increase in xenophobia as represented by portions of 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.
The proclaimed role of Cyprus as a bridge between three continents draws on its geographical location. However, a focus and preoccupation with domestic challenges has prevented the country from seizing opportunities offered through its membership in the EU, UN and other intergovernmental organizations. A clear strategy for international coordination appears to be missing, and contributions to global and regional politics and public welfare has been limited. Government activities are in recent years focusing on bi- and tri-lateral relations as well as initiatives aiming to coordinate the exploiting of hydrocarbons in the Eastern Mediterranean with neighboring countries. 2019 showed that, given existing conflicts in the region (which are partly fueled by hydrocarbon explorations), forged alliances do not seem to help secure a better environment for the region. Also, the Cyprus conflict decisively absorbs authorities’ activities.
1. EEZ: Cyprus has the right, Turkey has the might, Cyprus Mail, 06 October 2019,
For a long time, the Czech government acted not as a leader but as a reliable partner to 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 the European level. It has aligned instead 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 the reforms of the EU reform and its further development.
As a euro area member and participant in EU summits and ministerial meetings, Greece has engaged in international efforts to foster the provision of public goods. For instance, Greece has actively participated in international forums on environmental and cultural issues; it has also been vocal at the European level in pressuring for a coordinated response to migration challenges, 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 in the 2010 – 2018 period, Greece was often on the receiving end of coordination rather than being 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 scale and urgency of problems of the Greek economy, Greek governments have not been able to devote considerable effort or resources to ensuring that the country’s own national policies are in line with international norms and agreements.
Israel takes part in several international efforts to foster global public goods. Israel joined the OECD in 2010. Since its accession to the OECD, Israel is largely involved and engaged in shaping and implementing the OECD recommendation in several fields.
Israel has several ministerial committees in general, but very few, if at all, have specific responsibility for the implementation of OECD recommendations. An exception is the ministerial committee on regulatory affairs, which was launched in 2015 and has promoted many imitations (for more information, see G3.1-G3.4)
Another fresh example of Israel’s intention to be part of international collaboration to foster public goods is its involvement in the Eastern Mediterranean Gas Forum. This forum, which will transform to a regional organization, convenes the Energy Ministers of Egypt, Cyprus, Greece, Israel, Italy, Jordan and the Palestinian Authority to cooperate and maintain dialogue regarding gas resources in the region. Beyond its stated purpose, the forum is also conceived as an influential strategic gathering for Eastern Mediterranean countries.
“Israel in the OECD,” Minister of Treasury formal report (2010) (Hebrew).

“The Second Progress report on the implementation of the OECD recommendations: Labor market and social policies,” Myers-JDC-Brookdale Institute (2015) (Hebrew):

“Progress report on the implementation of the OECD recommendations: Labor market and social policies,” Myers-JDC-Brookdale Institute (2012) (Hebrew):
“Beyond Energy: The Significance of the Eastern Mediterranean Gas Forum,” INSS report (February 2019):
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). With regard to the immigration crisis, Italian governments have tried to promote a sharing of responsibility among EU member states.

Under the pressure of Salvini and the Northern League, the first Conte government took 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 increasingly isolated Italy within the country’s main sphere of activity (i.e., the European Union), and reduced the country’s effectiveness in international governance efforts. On the immigration front, demands for cooperation from other EU states were largely rejected. The second Conte government has seemed willing to adopt a more cooperative approach toward the EU.
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 U.N. 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. In 2018 and 2019, 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 U.N. 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 Middle East and North Africa region, focusing initially on Tunisia with the aim of providing employment to skilled Tunisians. In 2019, Malta also increased the financial contribution it makes to support global issues. In June 2020, Malta will officially launch its bid for a non-permanent seat on the U.N. Security Council for the 2023 – 2024 term.
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
Despite the many controversial steps Turkey has taken in foreign and security policy, Turkish state authorities play an active role in numerous fields and levels of international affairs (e.g., the United Nations, G-20, OSCE, NATO, the Council of Europe, EU, the Regional Cooperation Council in the Balkans, the OIC in the Islamic world, the Turkic Council in Central Asia and MIKTA). Yet, apart from its G-20 presidency in 2015 or the international summits it hosts (where the government has been able to actively promote global common goods), Turkey usually takes and is increasingly taking a more assertive approach that is clearly driven by its national interests. As a result, the country has increasingly confronted partners (NATO) and undermined joint undertakings and common interests in EU-Turkey relations (e.g., regarding stability in the Eastern Mediterranean).
Turkey continues to cooperate with 22 EU member states, having signed 47 cooperation agreements involving information-sharing and joint operations in the fight against terrorism and crime. Overall, Turkey has 172 security cooperation agreements with 103 countries. Its counterterrorism dialogue with the EU continued throughout the period under review and is among the key areas of joint interest. Since, 2014, Turkey has cooperated with EU member states on detecting foreign terrorist fighters (FTF) looking to cross Turkey to reach – or return from – Syria or Iraq and acted assertively when sending FTFs back to their countries of origin. At the same time, state authorities at times instrumentalize the refugee issue to push national interests against Greece and EU states instead of seeking joint understanding and sustainable solutions.

The Ministry of National Defense takes part in joint peacekeeping and humanitarian operations in Afghanistan, Kosovo, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Qatar. Some 17,470 military personnel from a total of 100 countries have participated in the courses provided by the Turkish Armed Forces at the Partnership for Peace Training Center (BİOEM). However, citing the need to fight terrorism, Turkey defied international calls not to enter into Syria in 2019. And its search for gas reserves in the Eastern Mediterranean, which is carried out with the protection of military ships, is viewed by the EU as a destabilizing move within a fragile region.

The Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TİKA) has offered projects in education, health, infrastructure, energy, communication and human resources development since 1991 in the Middle East and Africa, the Balkans and Eastern Europe, Central Asia and the Caucasus, East Asia, South Asia, the Pacific and Latin America. In 2018 alone, TİKA spent about TRY 350 million (€55 million) on various projects abroad. Similarly, the Directorate for Religious Affairs has been active in religious affairs, education and social affairs in other countries, promoting interreligious dialogue. Both agencies are involved in protecting cultural heritage and promoting intercultural understanding. However, some have criticized Turkey for a lack of transparency regarding its objectives and for prioritizing Muslim or Turkish nationals’ interests.

Turkey has yet to ratify the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. On the other hand, it will host in 2021 COP22, an international convention on the protection of the Mediterranean marine environment and coastline.
European Commission, Turkey 2019 Report, Brussels, 29.5.2019, report.pdf (accessed 1 November 2019)

TC Cumhurbaşkanlığı, 2019 Yılı Cumhurbaşkanlığı Yıllık Programı, lik_Programi.pdf (accessed 1 November 2019)

TC Milli Savunma Bakanlığı Faaliyet Raporu 2018, (accessed 1 November 2019)

TİKA Annual Report 2018,
(accessed 1 November 2019)
The United States has often led international efforts to pursue collective goods. 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.

U.S. performance in this area is not significantly constrained by deficiencies of institutional capability. However, 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. In 2019, among other examples, he has opposed efforts to enhance European security capability, worked to undermine the World Trade Organization, and, in conduct that led to his impeachment, withheld military aid from Ukraine to coerce its cooperation with his personal electoral interests.
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.
The conflict of the Orbán government with the European Union 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. Orbán actively seeks to build alliances in Brussels against all projects that are not in line with the new nationalist-populist ideology he follows.
The Mexican government has almost completely lost its international reputation. In his first year in office, AMLO has not left Mexico. He refused to participate in G20 meetings or U.N. assemblies. In an attempt to demonstrate to the Mexican population his commitment to domestic issues, this has undermined Mexico’s position in the world.

Mexico has traditionally been supportive of international initiatives, and played an active role in the United Nations, OECD and other intergovernmental organizations. It also was 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 had a supportive role in many international attempts oriented toward the provision of global public goods. Whether this engagement will be revived again has to be seen.
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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