To what extent does the government respond to international and supranational developments by adapting domestic government structures?

The government has appropriately and effectively adapted domestic government structures to international and supranational developments.
Following Sweden’s EU membership, which came into effect in the mid-1990s, there has been a sustained effort to adapt government, policy and regulation to EU standards. The bulk of this adaptation relates to changes in domestic regulatory frameworks and policies, a development that does not impact the structure of government (Jacobsson and Sundström, 2006).

Estimates suggest that some 75% of the regulations that pertain to Sweden are today EU rules, not domestic rules. This pattern is probably typical for all EU member states. However, Sweden is today among the forerunners in the EU with respect to its adoption of EU directives and decisions. Most of the adaptation has taken place not at the policy level, but on the administrative level (e.g., by integrating domestic regulatory agencies with EU agencies). At the same time, Eriksson (2021) reports that Sweden has had a considerable influence on EU policymaking in many policy sectors.
Eriksson, Jonas. (ed.) 2021. ”Sverige 25 år i EU. Sammanfattningar av åtta forskningsrapporter.” SIEPS: Rapport 2op.

Jacobsson Bengt and Göran Sundström. 2006. ”Från Hemvävd till Invävd: Europeiseringen av Svensk Förvaltning och Politik.” Malmö: Liber.
Being a small and open economy, Denmark has a long tradition of participating in international cooperation. The most wide-ranging form of international/supranational cooperation is Denmark’s membership of the European Union. Since joining in 1973, an elaborate system of coordination within government administration has developed. It involves all affected ministries and agencies, and often also interest organizations. In parallel, the European Affairs Committee in the parliament (Folketinget) has become an efficient democratic control of Danish-EU policy. Denmark speaks with one voice in Brussels.
Finn Laursen, “Denmark: in pursuit of influence and legitimacy,” in Wolfgang Wessels, Andreas Maurer and Jürgen Mittag (eds.), Fifteen into one? The European Union and its member states. Manchester, Manchester University Press, 2003, pp. 92-114.

Rasmus Brun Pedersen et al., “Dansk europapolitik og det danske EU-koordinationssystem.” in Jørgen Grønnegård and Jørgen Elklit (eds.), Det demokratiske system. 4. ed., Reitzels, 2016, pp. 248-284.
The most important supranational organization affecting domestic policies is the European Union. After consultations with the parliament and advocacy groups, the government has typically adopted a framing-policy document (e.g., Priorities of Estonian EU Policy 2022 – 2023). Generally, the formation and implementation of national EU policy is the responsibility of the government. An interministerial Coordination Council for EU Affairs is tasked with facilitating coordination of these national efforts. The Coordination Council plans and monitors the initiation and implementation of all EU-related policy activities. Each ministry bears the responsibility for developing draft legislation and enforcing government priorities in its domain.

The Secretariat for EU Affairs within the GO provides administrative and legal support in preparing EU-related activities. The secretariat advises the prime minister on EU matters (including preparations for European Council meetings), manages EU affairs across all government bodies, and offers guidelines for permanent representations. The parliament’s European Union Affairs Committee issues political positions on draft EU legislation, provides political opinions and oversees the activities of the government as it implements EU policies. Cooperation with international organizations (e.g., WTO, OECD and NATO) is the responsibility of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Even though these structures are well-developed, due to the small size of the country, Estonia cannot avoid being a rule-taker in areas of more marginal national relevance.
Most important adaptations have resulted from Finland’s EU membership. Finland was among the first EU member states to adopt the euro and government structures have in several instances been adapted to EU norms. The Parliamentary Grand Committee is tasked with preparing and adopting EU legislation. Furthermore, oversight of the EU secretariat, responsible for the coordination of EU affairs, has been transferred from the Ministry for Foreign Affairs to the Prime Minister’s Office. A coordination system exists to ensure that Finland maintains positions in line with its overall EU policy. This system involves relevant ministries, a cabinet committee on EU affairs and various EU subcommittees. These subcommittees are sector-specific governmental organs and constitute the foundation for the promotion of EU affairs within the state’s structures. The National Climate Change Adaptation Plan 2022 was adopted in 2014, introducing measures to mitigate the adverse consequences of climate change. The implementation of the plan is coordinated by a national monitoring group. The National Climate Change Act, which lays down provisions on the planning system for climate change policy and monitoring of the implementation of climate objectives, has been in force since June 2015. A medium-term climate change policy plan under the act was adopted by the parliament in March 2018.

In 2021, Finland was still very much in crisis mode. The pandemic was far from over, and public authorities’ main focus was to continue containing the negative effects of the COVID-19 crisis. As of the time of writing, it was not known whether the government had evaluated its crisis management system or initiated reforms to enhance preparedness. However, a number of expert groups have discussed these topics in their reports. As early as April 2020, the Prime Minister’s Office appointed a working group tasked with planning Finland’s exit from the COVID-19 crisis and determining what measures would be implemented to deal with its aftermath.

The Prime Minister’s Office also appointed a 13-member multidisciplinary scientific panel to support the working group. The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment and the Ministry of Finance appointed a working group of four economists to prepare an expert assessment of the impact of the coronavirus crisis and recommend measures that could be used to limit the damage to the Finnish economy. The Ministry of Social Affairs and Health and the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment appointed a high-profile group to propose measures to enhance well-being and equality in the aftermath of the coronavirus epidemic. The aim was to produce proposals to prevent the emergence of lasting problems, social exclusion and an increase in inequality following the lifting of the restrictive measures used to tackle the epidemic (OECD 2020).
Ministry of the Environment, “National climate change policy,”

OECD, 2020. OEDC Survey on the STI Policy Response to Covid-19. Accessed 28.12. 2020. inland.html
The key influence in this area is Ireland’s membership in the European Union and, in the financial area, of the euro zone. In the almost 50 years since Ireland became a member of the European Economic Community in 1973, the country has adapted institutions at all levels of government to allow the country to function effectively within the European Union. The Europeanization of both institutions and the policymaking process has changed the country profoundly. Having successfully implemented the 2010 bailout agreement with the Troika, Ireland has remained committed to adhering to the EU rules of economic governance contained in the Treaty on Stability, Coordination and Governance and the fiscal procedures contained in the European Semester. The unexpectedly strong economic performance since 2013 has greatly facilitated compliance with these obligations. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Ireland has walked in step with its EU peers when introducing emergency measures, and limiting economic and social activity. Ireland participated fully in the European Union’s vaccine strategy with the rest of the European Union, and data and information from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) has featured prominently in public discourse and in policymaking.
For a discussion of the framework of Ireland’s economic governance see Tutty, M. (2014) Reforming European Economic Governance, IIEA papers, available at:
Latvia has adapted domestic government structures to fulfill the requirements of EU membership, revising policy-planning and decision-making processes. During the 2013 – 2015 period, Latvia revised its domestic structures to comply with the demands of the 2015 EU presidency. Beginning in 2014, Latvia began adapting to the requirements associated with OECD membership. In 2016, Latvia joined the OECD.

In order to ensure efficient decision-making and meet the obligations of IMF and EU loan agreements, Latvia created a reform-management group for coordination on major policy reforms. In 2012, this included changes to the biofuels support system, reforms in the civil service’s human-resources management, tax-policy changes, and reforms in the management of state enterprises. The group proved to be a useful forum for the consolidation of support across sectors for major policy changes and structural reforms. The inclusion of non-governmental actors in the group serves to facilitate support for upcoming policy changes.
Lithuania’s policymakers have over time significantly adapted domestic government structures to international and supranational developments. A network of semi-independent regulatory agencies was developed during the pre-accession period. After the completion of EU accession negotiations, Lithuania’s system of coordinating EU affairs was gradually moved from the core government to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and, in the case of specific sectoral matters, decentralized to line ministries.

Lithuania has managed to maintain a rather good record of transposition and implementation of EU law, as illustrated by the low transposition deficit and relatively small number of infringement cases initiated against the country. Lithuania absorbs EU investments relatively quickly. As much as 40% of EU payments were disbursed by 3 October 2019, compared to the EU-28 average of 35%. Although the management of EU funds and control systems is functioning well and in compliance with EU requirements, it is challenging for the Lithuanian authorities to ensure the result-orientation of EU funds while maintaining a high rate of absorption during the programming period from 2014 to 2020. The adoption of EU policy has largely taken place on a formal basis, rather than indicating substantial policy learning. The central bank’s capacities were strengthened as a result of preparations for the introduction of the euro in 2015, while the adoption of economic-governance rules for the euro area resulted in an expansion in the role and capacities of the National Audit Office. Accession to the OECD in 2018 was expected to strengthen the quality of regulation and the efficacy of state-owned enterprises, but the autumn 2019 decision by a newly appointed minister of transport and communications to dismiss the board members of the state-owned Lithuanian Post indicated that there is some risk that these reforms will be reversed.

The COVID-19 pandemic presented Lithuanian authorities with numerous challenges. Although the initial reaction by the authorities was swift and largely appropriate given the circumstances, later responses – especially those that required more complex decision-making and analysis – often lagged behind the developments. Moreover, policymakers did not internalize lessons sufficiently to enable them to prepare for successive pandemic waves. The management of the illegal migration crisis and the more general geopolitical tensions originating from the increasingly aggressive behavior of authoritarian regimes in Russia, Belarus and China drove the government to draft a new National Security strategy in 2021, and prompted a review of the country’s crisis management system. Russia’s war against Ukraine and Belarus’ military dependency on Russia are likely to result in significant mobilization of national and allied resources for security purposes.
In many cases, the government has adapted domestic government structures to international and supranational developments.
Organizational change is constantly taking place within the federal government and some of this change reflects international developments. However, unlike countries in the European Union, Canada is not a member of a supranational organization that might necessitate adjustments in organizational structures and reporting relationships. One area that has seen change is international affairs. There is now Global Affairs Canada which has three ministers: 1) Foreign Affairs, 2) International Trade, Export Promotion, Small Business and Economic Development and 3) International Development. This new structure (integrated yet differentiated) allows for distinct but coordinated treatments of diplomacy, international trade, and aid/cooperation.
The French government has a good track record in adapting national institutions to European and international challenges. This can be attributed to the bureaucratic elite’s awareness of international issues. This contrasts vividly with the government parties’ weakened ability to adapt national policies to the challenges stemming from the globalization of the economy, as there is often fierce resistance from trade unions, most political parties and public opinion at large. The collapse of the fragile party-government system in 2017 has radically transformed the political landscape. New parliamentarians, mostly selected from outside the traditional political party framework, fully support Macron’s new vision. Macron’s declared European and global approach is a radical departure from the past orientations of either the right or the left. However, this French U-turn coincides with a crisis in European and global multilateral institutions, which are being challenged by populist governments and movements around the world. To date, few innovative initiatives have been successful, and in many cases their content has been watered down.
In the medium term, the most significant impact that international, and particularly supranational (EU-related) developments have had upon the structure and working of the government concerns the role of the minister of finance and of the treasury. Because of budgetary requirements deriving from European integration and participation in the euro area, the minister of finance has acquired increasing weight in the governmental decision-making process, exercising an effective gatekeeping role with respect to the proposals of line ministries. Consequently, the prime minister and the finance minister gained a more central role in the implementation of the government program, guiding the most important decisions, while other ministers assumed a secondary role.

Under the first Conte government (2018–2019), this trend appeared to be reversing itself. The political influence of the prime minister and finance minister was reduced to accommodate the policy initiatives of the two party leaders of the coalition, who made little effort to respect Italy’s international and European obligations. However, the second Conte government has backed somewhat away from this mode of operation and, with the increasing need to obtain European support during the pandemic crisis, the role of the finance minister has gained new weight. This trend has been significantly reinforced by the Draghi government, and the large funds attributed to Italy by the European Commission and the Next Generation EU program. The role of the prime minister and of the finance minister have become crucial in steering the implementation of this program.
New Zealand
New Zealand follows the Westminster model of democracy, which is characterized by a low number of institutional veto players and centralizes political decision-making power in the executive. New Zealand’s political system thus gives the government – at least in principle – the ability to respond to international challenges promptly and effectively.

With the implementation of a mixed-member electoral system in 1996, the institutional capacity to meet new international demands has somewhat declined – not least because single-party majority governments (which used to be the typical outcome under the old first-past-the-post system) have been replaced by multiparty coalition and minority governments. Still, the political system has again and again proven its ability to innovate and adapt in response to international challenges. Of particular note are reforms implemented in the wake of the 2008/09 global financial crisis, which prompted the government to tighten expenditures and reconsider how to deliver improved citizen-centered services at reduced cost. The 2014 “Better Local Government” reforms were designed to (1) clarify the core responsibilities of local councils, (2) set clear fiscal responsibility requirements, and (3) give councils more tools to better manage costs. The 2015 amendment to the Government ICT Strategy aims at rationalizing public service delivery by strengthening coordination across different government agencies and by establishing a digital platform for federated services.

The centralized nature of the New Zealand political system (local government remains comparatively weak) does allow the government of the day to respond rapidly to crises if required. It is also not uncommon for the government to use “urgency” measures to pass legislation through the parliament when the coalition partners support the particular policy, although this process has been subject to criticism (Walters, 2021).
Department of Internal Affairs (2015) ICT Strategy 2015. (
Department of Internal Affairs (2014) Better Local Government. (
Walters, L. (2021). ‘What’s the rush? Lawmaking in a Hurry’
Government structures have remained fairly stable over time. Norway is not a member of the European Union but is a member of the European Economic Area and has signed numerous additional agreements with the European Union. EU policies are therefore routinely transposed into law and implemented in Norway. EU regulations and legislation affect Norwegian ministries and public administration in much the same way as EU member states are affected. A recent scandal in the welfare sector has exposed weaknesses in the capacity to correctly apply EU policies, indicating room for improvement in this area.

There are ongoing efforts to improve the institutional framework for e-governance and to strengthen it, although not primarily in response to international developments.

It is common for new governments to reallocate tasks across ministries. Examples of adaptation include the country’s early establishment of an Environment Ministry, the strengthening of the political leadership devoted to development cooperation, and the recent establishment of a Directorate of Integration and Diversity separate from the body dealing with immigration issues. In general, interdepartmental coordination has increased as a result of international activity, particularly so in relation to the handling of European affairs.
South Korea
The government’s ability to engage in policy learning is generally high, but institutional learning is far more limited. Non-governmental academic experts have considerable influence on government decision-making. In addition to their participation on the presidential advisory committee, scholars are often nominated for top government positions, although their tenure seems to be relatively short. The process of appointing experts remains highly politicized, and in the past experts have often been chosen because of their political inclination rather than their academic expertise. The Moon government did not give sufficient attention to criticisms of policy failures stemming from experts with a different political perspective, which makes the process of policy consultation less effective. The short-lived tenures of two ministers of justice (Cho Kuk and Choo Mi ae) and their contentious relationships with the Prosecutor’s Office illustrate the limitations of the echo-chamber approach.

International and supranational developments that affect South Korea directly can trigger rapid and far-reaching change. For example, South Korea has reacted to the global financial and economic crisis with decisive action and massive government intervention. Global standards play a crucial role in the South Korean government. Reports and criticism issued by international organizations such as the OECD or the IMF, or by partners such as the United States or the European Union, are taken very seriously. The government has also declared its intention to increase its provision of official development assistance (ODA) in order to meet global standards in the near future. For example, it was the first Asian donor to join the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI), an initiative for enhancing aid transparency. However, the country’s degree of adaptability largely depends upon compatibility with domestic political goals. For example, given its large manufacturing sector, Korea was slow to transition to greater environmental sustainability. However, with its shift to a green and digital economy, environmental standards have also been raised in recent years.

Pandemic management is one area in which the government has demonstrated its capacity for institutional learning and innovation. The government learned from its failures in handling MERS by updating and/or adopting various policies and mechanisms. Measures such as strengthening the role of the Korea Centers for Disease Control, fast-tracking approval for emergency medical supplies, and enhancing communication and the transparency of information helped Korea to respond far more effectively to COVID-19 than it did to the MERS outbreak. Thus, at the beginning of the pandemic, the learning curve was less steep for the Korean government than for other governments. Later, however, the government failed to secure the timely delivery of vaccines. In fact, for some time, the government was a bit too self-confident in its ability to contain the pandemic, and believed that Korea would not need an early vaccination campaign.
Asian Development Bank. “The Republic of Korea’s Coronavirus Disease Pandemic Response and Health System Preparedness,” October 4, 2021.
Kim, Jiyeon, and Neil Richards. “South Korea’s COVID Success Stems from Earlier Lessons in Managing Mers.” The Wire Science, February 27, 2021.
Brookings Doha Center. “Policy & Institutional Responses to COVID-19: South Korea,” June 2021.
The government has largely adapted its domestic structures to agreements made at international and supranational level, although this adaptation has not always been implemented effectively. The government’s coordination with and adaptation to the European Union is mainly the task of the Secretariat of State for the European Union and the Spanish Permanent Representation in Brussels (both units within the Foreign Ministry). The Prime Minister’s Office, the Ministry for Economy, and the Ministry for Finance also have important responsibilities in terms of coordinating cooperation between ministries on EU matters and structural reforms connected to European economic governance. More generally, all line ministries have to some extent Europeanized their organizations, although most ministries lack units dealing specifically with the European Union, and interministerial coordination is weak. Cooperation between central government and the autonomous communities on EU affairs has been managed by the so-called Conferences on Matters Related to the European Union.

A Ministry of Social Rights and Agenda 2030 was created in 2021 with executive powers, and tasked with coordinating domestic actions to promote fulfilment of the SDGs. In addition, a specific governance system has been created: the government commission for the 2030 Agenda will strengthen dialogue and interministerial coordination, while the Sectoral Conference for the 2030 Agenda will facilitate coordination with subnational levels of government. However, the government reacts most frequently to changes in the international developments through further executive centralization around the PMO, as reflected in the management of the Plan for Recovery, Transformation and Resilience.
Real Decreto 507/2021, de 10 de julio, por el que se modifica el Real Decreto 2/2020, de 12 de enero, por el que se reestructuran los departamentos ministeriales.
While not a member of the European Union, Iceland has since 1994 been a member of the European Economic Area (EEA), and has integrated and adapted EU structures into domestic law to a considerable extent. Under the EEA agreement, Iceland is obliged to adopt around 80% of EU law. Iceland is also responsive to comments made by the Council of Europe, countries belonging to the Schengen Agreement, and UN institutions. As one of the five full members, Iceland is bound by every unanimous decision of the Nordic Council of Ministers. However, the council deals only with issues connected to Nordic cooperation. The structure and organization of Iceland’s government accords well with international practice, and seems to be under constant review. The 2009 – 2013 government attempted to streamline and rationalize the ministry structure in order to weaken the long-standing links between special-interest organizations and the ministries, reducing the number of ministries from 12 to eight. By 2021, the number had been restored to 12.
Following OECD and academic recommendations, the Israeli government advances various administrative reforms regarding regulatory burdens, decision-making and long-term planning. Periodic progress reports show gradual improvement in the dissemination of information as well as in decision-making. The government continues to adapt its domestic structures to international and supranational developments in an ongoing and constructive process. The Ministry of Economy and Industry produces an annual report that reviews progress with regard to implementation of the OECD’s recommendations. For example, in 2015 the report presented the progress made in the ability to regulate the imposition of labor laws. Moreover, in 2015, Israel signed the Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in tax matters of the OECD and ratified it in 2016. Many other agreements, such as the enforcement of the anti-bribery convention, have been signed, with policies adapted in Israel in accordance with OECD standards.
Arlozorov, Merav. 2020. “Netanyahu’s failing management forces Israel to crawl down to Pfizer”. TheMarker. Retrieved from

Linder, Roni. 2020. “Israel is burning, said Sigal Sadetzki. Is it happening again, and how did we reach another lockdown.” TheMarker. Retrieved from
Israel’s State Comptroller. 2020a. Israel’s handling of the Corona crisis – Special Interim report. Office of the State Comptroller.

Israel’s State Comptroller. 2020b. Health system management in the outbreak of new diseases. Office of the State Comptroller.
Luxembourg has made progress in implementing European legislation. In terms of the transposition of EU directives, Luxembourg’s performance is moderate, yet it has improved in recent years. Given the size of the country, there is limited scope for improving the government administration’s human resources. A single civil servant is typically responsible for a number of tasks that would be assigned to an entire team in other EU member states. For example, European Social Fund (ESF) activities fall under the responsibility of only four civil servants who have other responsibilities in addition to European programs. Despite a lack of personnel, work expected by European and supranational institutions is completed.

On 21 March 2020, the Chamber of Deputies approved a law implementing the 6th Directive 2011/16/EU on Administrative Cooperation (“DAC6”), which introduced an automatic exchange of information in relation to cross-border financial arrangements. The law of 10 July implemented a register of fiduciaries and trusts, transposing Article 31 of Directive (EU) 2015/849 as amended by the 5th Anti-Money Laundering Directive (AMLD5). However, in December 2021, the European Commission called on Luxembourg to amend its legislation to correctly transpose the non-deductibility of interest payments rule set by the EU Anti-Tax Avoidance Directive.

Luxembourg often responds to international requests by launching an ad hoc group. The country has also done well in conforming national law to EU directives, sometimes transposing laws verbatim. However, this does not guarantee that the law will be followed verbatim; differences between de jure and de facto interpretations have emerged.
The capacity of government structures to adapt to change improved during the period of EU accession and since membership. Malta’s preparations for assuming the EU presidency required further adaptation to changing scenarios, especially at the ministerial and bureaucratic levels as well as ambassadorial and consulate levels. It also required the expansion and international training of personnel. Malta is also seeking election to the UN Security Council for 2023/24. Consequently, there is greater awareness of the need to respond to international developments. Better coordination among the bureaucracy has also contributed to improvements. Departments are required to submit a strategic plan that is linked to their policy objectives, and which makes a contribution to wider national and corporate programs. On this basis, they are then required to submit a business plan specifying the necessary human and budgetary resources (typically in a two-year rolling plan format). These plans are approved and translated into the organizational leadership-performance plan. These are revised and updated every six months to ensure that they remain relevant and suitable to current conditions. In this way, organizations and their mandates are allowed to evolve gradually so as to remain “fit for purpose.” In addition, the government of Malta uses a number of structured review processes, including spending reviews (led by the Ministry for Finance), and strategic/operational/capacity reviews carried out in-house consultancy firm (the Management Efficiency Unit, or MEU) or external consultants. Similarly, there is a structured internal audit program led by the Internal Audit and Investigations Department (IAID). These latter interventions aim to stimulate significant organization change as needed, and generally focus on specific issue areas.

Malta is presently under substantial pressure to update and improve its regulatory and enforcement capabilities, particularly in the area of finance. Malta’s grey listing by the FATF is one example of this pressure, and expertise and funding has been allocated to ensure this. This is supported by recent credit agency reports. Environmental protection also requires strengthening. However, success in this field has been marginal.

Parliament has also demonstrated a greater willingness to engage with international forums. This has increased the government’s capacity to address international issues such as climate change, international financial institutions, security policy and humanitarian crises. However, the fact that parliament remains a part-time institution slows down the process, leaving the task to the public service.
The Mexican governing elite have traditionally been very interested in adopting international standards and had a high degree of contact with international organizations and policy institutes. The major motivation for this is that multilateralism has always provided a strategic avenue for counterbalancing the country’s dependence on its northern neighbor. Moreover, many members of the policy elite have studied and/or worked abroad, mostly in English-speaking countries and sometimes in those international organizations that promote international norms. Mexico’s presidential system, with its directing authority at the center of the administration, also allows the country to make swift changes. However, while adaptability of the Mexican government is comparatively high in formal terms, implementation of new approaches and policies is much weaker, particularly when it involves subnational entities, heavily unionized sectors or counters economic interests in society. In this regard, one of the most challenging tasks for the Mexican government is currently to transfer the ambitious U.N. Global Goals (Sustainable Development Goals) agenda into domestic policies, adapting them to national priorities. Progress, thus far, seems to be slow. While formulating action plans and monitoring strategies at the national level faces little or no capacity barriers, the implementation and mainstreaming of policies at the local and regional level will be the major challenge. In addition, while Mexico has signaled commitment to human rights in international arenas, within the country the protection of human rights and respect for the rule of law remain low. The current government, despite a tradition of paying attention to international initiatives, has been rather inward looking due to increasing domestic challenges. However, in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, Mexico has become more active diplomatically, seeking to revitalize South-South cooperation, especially the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC).
The European Union is vital to Portugal in all respects. Since joining the European Economic Community (EEC) in 1986, Portugal has become an integral part of Europe, with all the implications arising from integration into a huge variety of legal, organizational, security and reporting frameworks. While the government of Portugal has not yet applied all of the EU laws and regulations, it is steadily adopting EU policies. Obviously, since Portugal is part of the European Union, and dependent upon it for funds and trade, the country has had to adapt its structures accordingly.

In terms of organizational adaptation, this is reflected in the creation of positions such as the secretary of state for European affairs in the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and the General-Directorate for European Affairs. In addition, almost all ministries have structures designed to interact with the EU level.
Upon EU accession, Slovenia developed a complex system for coordinating European affairs, with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs serving as the central coordinator. The Cerar, Šarec and current Janša governments left this system largely unchanged. In order to increase the absorption of EU funds, the Cerar government created a new ministry without portfolio with responsibility for development, strategic projects and cohesion and changed procedures. The Šarec government has kept the ministry, but replaced its minister twice due to the ministry’s poor performance. In addition, the Janša government has kept the ministry, but notably increased the efficacy of cohesion funds absorption capacity. Slovenia was well prepared to take over the presidency of the Council of the European Union for the second time in the second half of 2021.
The organization of ministries in the United Kingdom is a prerogative of the prime minister, and traditionally the precise division of tasks between ministries apart from the classic portfolios of foreign policy, defense, the Treasury, and the Home Office has been subject to considerable change. There is some evidence for international and supranational developments playing an important role in these decisions on UK government structures, a clear example being the creation of the Department of Energy and Climate Change, with an explicit remit to engage in international action to mitigate climate change, although was subsequently subsumed within new ministries following the change in prime minister in 2016. New cabinet committees have been set up (and subsequently terminated), such as a committee on Syrian refugees in 2015 and more recently on dealing with Afghanistan after the 2021 takeover by the Taliban. There have also been developments leading to new cross-departmental structures. The establishment of the National Security Council was a response to security-related issues, while the creation of a cross-governmental joint energy unit was motivated by the Ukraine crisis.

The United Kingdom has in some areas been an early, and sometimes enthusiastic, proponent of norms and practices that have been championed by international bodies, including those overseeing financial stability and transparency in government. The Open Data Charter and the Open Government Partnership (in which the United Kingdom plays an active role) were agreed under the United Kingdom’s G7 presidency. The United Kingdom is an acknowledged leader in open government and ranked first out of 115 countries in the 2016 Open Data Barometer. Considerable effort was put into the preparation of COP26, held in Glasgow in 2021, with the effort headed by a cabinet minister.

Prior to Brexit, ministries and cabinet committees were reconfigured and efforts made to develop trade policy capability, because government had to respond to the expanding UK role in international trade. The revived Ministry for International Trade was one such reconfiguration. On the other hand, the Johnson government is eager to distance itself from many of the United Kingdom’s previous relationships with the European Union to emphasize its independence.
The United States has developed institutional structures that are able to respond to its international obligations. Climate-change negotiations, for example, have been firmly institutionalized in the Office of Global Affairs in the State Department. Similarly, the creation of the Department of Homeland Security was a domestic structural response to the challenges of international terrorism. Whether the policies of these units and agencies have been successful or have facilitated multilateral cooperation has depended on the policy choices of each administration and the disposition of Congress.
The Austrian government has adapted domestic structures to international developments, but with reservations. While the EU political agenda is generally accepted (including EU-related structures and units within the governing machine), the government has proved reluctant to implement specific policies (e.g., by defending the principle of bank secrecy). This hesitancy reflects the fact that the government is often internally divided for constitutional and political reasons. First, the cabinet consists of autonomous ministers who cannot be forced to accept a general agenda. The position of the chancellor as first among equals means there is no clearly defined leadership by a head of government. Second, governments since 1983 have been coalitions. Coalition parties tend to work on a specific party agenda, and have a limited interest in the agenda of the government. In many cases, one governing party tends to favor implementing international and especially supranational (EU) policies more than the other. This issue was particularly pronounced when the FPÖ was part of the governing coalition between 2017 and 2019.

Recently, the government shifted its overall international outlook away from following general EU policies (as established by the principle of the European Union’s Common Foreign and Security Policy) to a more diverse attitude – siding in some cases (e.g., concerning the UN migration agreement) with the four Visegrád EU member states rather than with the EU mainstream. In 2020, Austria was part of a small coalition of countries (alongside Sweden, Denmark and the Netherlands) that prominently blocked suggestions for an EU coronavirus aid program.

A key challenge Austria faces regards the structural reform of its federal division of power between the federal state, and the regions and (to a lesser extent) municipalities. Despite its rather small country size, Austria disposes of a strong federal system with a lot of powers residing with the regions, although some powers are inefficiently divided between the state and the regions (e.g., regarding healthcare). This system leads to a lot of inefficiencies regarding the implementation of effective policies and consumes a lot of resources, which would be invested better elsewhere.
Belgium is one of the founding states of the European Union and is an active member of many international agreements. In some instances, Belgium has even played a leading role in international agreements (such as banning the production of land mines).

However, Belgium is today regularly criticized for not fully complying with rules agreed upon at the European Union, United Nations or NATO. For instance, critics have taken aim at Belgium’s slower-than-average progress in abiding by EU environmental norms. According to the European Commission, this is mainly because “the country’s environmental governance has been shaped by EU environmental law and policy (top-down process),” while “the regions’ powers in environmental matters have been increasing since the 1980s (reinforcing the bottom-up nature of environmental governance in Belgium).” The commission further stresses that “[t]he lack of a hierarchy of legislative acts reduces the effectiveness and efficiency of environmental policymaking in Belgium.”
https: //
European Commission, DG Environment (2019) “The EU Environmental Implementation Review 2019 Country Report – BELGIUM”
The year 2021 is likely to mark some progress in domestic coordination, and in the coordination of the country’s policy stance vis-a-vis North Macedonia’s and Albania’s accession to the European Union – a stance that remains difficult for EU outsiders to understand.

The diversity of opinions within the government regarding Russia complicates matters, as does the president’s obvious intent to play a central role in international and NATO affairs.

EU and NATO membership imposes a clear necessity on the Bulgarian government to be able to respond to and adopt changes based on international and supranational developments. Beyond changes in recent years related to this, the primary governmental structures and their methods of operation have remained largely unchanged.

One area in which organizational changes related to supranational developments seem to be leading to improvement is the implementation of EU-funded programs and mechanisms; this is particularly evident in areas such as transportation and environmental-protection infrastructure, and less so with regard to agricultural subsidies and judicial reform.

In 2017, the government adapted to its upcoming presidency of the Council of the European Union by creating a Ministry of the Bulgarian Presidency. Its operation was deemed successful and by all standards it was a success, and at the end of 2018 the ministry was dissolved, indicating that the capacity to adapt to changing circumstances remained.

A next challenge will be the adaptation of government structures to upcoming changes in the EU funding framework, both in terms of EU earmarked revenues and post-COVID-19 recovery transfers.
After Greece exited the third Economic Adjustment Program (2015–2018) in August 2018, it remained under an enhanced European Commission surveillance system. Surveillance reports on Greece are issued every three months, with the latest one issued in November 2021. During the period under review, the government adapted its domestic structures to international and supranational developments.

Following the change in government in 2019, the Prime Minister’s Office was renamed the Presidency of Government. It acquired more authority to steer government and public administration in a post-crisis path toward economic development. New administrative units and additional skilled staff were assigned to the Presidency of Government.

After the COVID-19 crisis hit, the government put together two expert committees, consisting of epidemiologists and medical school professors, one on monitoring the evolution of the pandemic and the other on vaccinations. The government consulted with the committees before announcing public health measures.

On the other hand, there was inertia on the part of the government with regard to international trends, such as attaining the United Nation’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). After the Prime Minister’s Office had issued the first National Voluntary Report for Greece on the SDGs in 2018, there was no structural adaptation in any government unit to follow-up on sustainable development in 2020–2021.

To sum up, in the period under review, government structures have adapted to manage issues from previous crises (the euro zone crisis) or new crises (the COVID-19 pandemic), while there was structural inertia regarding longer-term targets (sustainable development).
Greece first “National Voluntary Report” on the 17 SDGs is available at
Japan’s reform processes are usually driven by domestic developments and interests, but international models or perceived best practices do play a role at times. Actors interested in reform have frequently appealed to international standards and trends to support their position. Some of the recent reforms adopted in response to international standards are digitalization and regulatory impact assessment process.
On 30 June 2019, Romania completed its six-month term hosting the EU Council Presidency, with the last summit hosted in President Iohannis’ hometown of Sibiu. The presidency went better than expected, producing 90 pieces of legislation addressing banking, workforce, future migrant crisis situations, the gas market, and low-emission vehicles. The better-than-expected functioning of Romania’s presidency shows that Romania was able to adapt its government structures and processes so as to successfully meet its obligations as EU council president. At the same time, little progress was made in terms of improving the absorption of EU funds. Since the end of its EU presidency, Romania has not demonstrated any notable developments in its capacity to adapt government structures to respond to new challenges.
Switzerland directly implements international treaties which today account for about half of the federal legislation. Whenever Switzerland agrees to cooperate with other countries or international organizations, it attempts to meet all the requirements of the agreement, including implementation of the necessary administrative reforms.

With regard to the European Union, however, the adaptation is idiosyncratic. On the one hand, the government cannot in a self-executing way update domestic legislation to EU rules, as most Swiss do not want to join the European Union and have expressed in several referendums their skepticism toward the European Union. On the other hand, adaptations to EU law reach beyond these treaties and comprise also large parts of (domestic) economic law. The strategy of bilateral treaties has been placed in jeopardy following the passage of the popular initiative capping mass immigration. The parliament solved the problem by paying lip-service to the constitutional amendment while drafting an implementation law that does not correspond to the wording and the spirit of the popular decision (“implementation light”). Moreover, there are serious concerns as to whether the “strategy of bilaterals” is sufficient or sustainable. Conflicts between the European Union and Switzerland have escalated since 2008, with the European Union demanding that institutional solutions be developed to address the bilateral system’s weaknesses. Specifically, the European Union has called for self-executing rules enabling bilateral treaties to be updated as well as independent institutions for the settlement of conflicts arising from the bilateral treaties. Switzerland has opposed these proposals. There is strong domestic opposition against any such institutional framework agreement, while the European Union is not willing to continue the previous case-by-case updating of bilateral agreements nor the unanimous adjudication of conflicts by a joint committee of the European Union and Switzerland. Switzerland has tried to wait out the decision, but the European Union has threatened and then executed sanctions. Given the long list of unresolved issues touching the interests of diverse groups such as trade unions and right-wing populist politicians, the Swiss political system has been unable to adapt to these external challenges. Instead, the executive and most political parties procrastinated and muddled their way through. Finally, in spring 2021, the government terminated any development of an institutional agreement with the European Union having failed to find consensus within the government or win over a clear majority of voters and interest groups for the draft agreement that had been hammered out over the previous years. The left, and in particular the trade unions, feared becoming victims of the liberalizing negative integration which is spurred by the rulings of the European Court of Justice. The right-wing populist party took an oppositional approach as a matter of principle.

Hence, relations between the European Union and Switzerland have stalled at the time of writing. In principle, the European Union has made any update to and extension of its bilateral treaties with Switzerland conditional on a sufficient institutional agreement that defines the dynamic updating of the bilateral treaties and dispute settlement, and a central role for the European Court of Justice. Some Swiss actors, on the other hand, believe that in the end the European Union will agree to a gradual process of updating of the treaties because of Switzerland’s importance to the European Union. This is the position of the party with the largest vote share in Switzerland, the Swiss People’s Party. Other major parties see the need to respond to the EU demand for an institutional arrangement, but are far from finding consensus on what such an arrangement might look like.

Over recent decades, the Swiss government adapted its government structures to increasing European integration. There is a desk on European integration (which has had various names and various ministry assignments) in the federal government. There is a leading federal officer for European Affairs (who has sometimes even been granted the competencies of a state secretary, which is just below the level of a federal minister). Meanwhile, with respect to European politics, power has shifted somewhat from interest associations and a pre-parliamentary commission to the national parliament and particularly the federal government. Finally, cantons have far-reaching powers and participate accordingly in the formulation of Switzerland’s European policy when their interests are affected. The cantons determine their positions in the Conference of Cantonal Governments (KdK), which is represented at the Swiss Mission to the European Union.
Armingeon, Klaus/Lutz, Philipp (2020): Muddling between responsiveness and responsibility: the Swiss case of a non-implementation of a constitutional rule, in: Comparative European Politics 18, 256-280.

Armingeon, Klaus and Philipp Lutz 2022: Citizens’ response to a non-responsive government: The Case of the Swiss Initiative on Mass Immigration, unpublished manuscript

DARDANELLI, Paolo and Oscar Mazzoleni eds 2021: Switzerland-EU Relations. Lessons for the UK after Brexit?, London: Routledge.

Lauener, Lukas/Emmenegger, Patrick/Häusermann, Silja, et al. 2021: Torn Between International Cooperation and National Sovereignty: Voter Attitudes in Trade-off Situations in Switzerland, in: Swiss Political Science Review.

Wasserfallen, Fabio 2021: Die Europäische Union und die Schweiz, in Bernauer, T. et al.: Schweizer Aussenpolitik, Zürich: NZZ-Verlag.
In some cases, the government has adapted domestic government structures to international and supranational developments.
Most government structures are essentially driven by domestic imperatives and are largely insensitive to international and supranational developments. The key government structures of Australia have not changed since the federation of the colonies. Indeed, only a few international events have persuaded Australian governments in recent times to adapt domestic structures. The major exception is in relation to the treaties and conventions to which Australia is a signatory, particularly in the areas of human rights, anti-discrimination and transnational crime, where Australia has been a regional leader. Australian society has been reluctant to support a change in political structures and has resisted doing so when asked in referendums, for example with regard to proposed constitutional changes.

Australian society has demonstrated a willingness to ignore international pressure, such as international criticism of its humanitarian migration policy or high levels of carbon emissions.

The establishment of the Department of Home Affairs in December 2017, which was intended to bring together all of the government’s national-security, border-control and law-enforcement agencies, marked one recent example when the government felt the need to adapt its structures to international developments. The new agency took over responsibility for national security, the law-enforcement and emergency-management functions previously held by the Attorney-General’s Department, the transport-security functions previously held by the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development, the counterterrorism and cybersecurity functions of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, the multicultural-affairs functions of the Department of Social Services, and the entirety of the responsibilities held by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection.
In general terms, the reform of domestic governing structures tends to be driven by national fiscal policy concerns, which means that any innovation implying financial changes (such as a budget augmentation for a certain ministry or for a department within a ministry) is very difficult or even impossible to realize. Changes concerning topics that might be of future interest and do not directly affect current political challenges – for example, the expansion of a department’s staff or the creation of a new unit dedicated to topics of possible future interest – are driven more by fiscal or political reasons and political cycles than by international or supranational developments. However, Law No. 20,600 of 2012 established environmental tribunals (Tribunales Ambientales) in three regions of the country (north, central and south). The creation of the Ministry of Science, Technology, Knowledge and Innovation (Ministerio de Ciencia, Tecnología, Conocimiento e Innovación, MICITEC) in 2018, as well as the reconfiguration of some supervisory boards, can be seen as a domestic adaptation responding to international and supranational developments. The planned creation of the Agency for Personal Data Protection (Agencia de Protección de Datos Personales) represents another step in line with international and supranational developments.
On the Environmental Tribunals,, last accessed: 13 January 2022.

On the Ministry of Science, Technology, Knowledge and Innovation (Ministerio de Ciencia, Tecnología, Conocimiento e Innovación, MICITEC),, last accessed: 13 January 2022.
Croatia’s accession to the European Union and NATO has been accompanied by substantial changes in domestic government structures, ranging from the reintroduction of RIA to the passage of the Societal Consultation Codex and the strengthening of capacities for policy coordination. However, the ability of the Croatian administration to absorb the newly available EU funds has remained limited, and the Plenković government has done little to adapt domestic government structures to international and supranational developments. In 2019, some cosmetic changes were made to the governance structure. State administration offices in 21 Croatian counties were revoked and some of their competencies transferred to counties. Unfortunately, this reform will not significantly decrease the out-sized public administration apparatus. The reform only entails the reshuffling of competencies and personnel, and will not alter structures or processes. The long-awaited reform of the territorial organization of the country is effectively being shelved. The excessive fragmentation thus remains, with a total of 556 municipalities and towns.
Puljiz, J., Maleković, S., Keser, I. (2018): Cohesion Policy in Croatia: What Have We Accomplished so Far? in: Z. Petak, K. Kotarski (eds.), Policy-Making at the European Periphery: The Case of Croatia. Cham: Palgrave Macmillan, 285-302.
Numerous studies have been conducted in the last decade, which to support reform. Some included proposals to overcome the limitations imposed by the rigid structures of the 1960 constitution, while others aimed at introducing innovative changes. There has been little progress, despite the European Union and IMF repeatedly urging for reform.

Changes brought about by EU accession, with the introduction of new institutions and practices, have not been fully productive. In addition, as a single region under the European Union’s “cohesion policy,” Cyprus has not benefited significantly from relevant EU policies.

Reforms suggested since 2013, including tackling governmental structures and entrenched mentalities, have shown little progress. Attempts to increase strategic planning capacity, promote administrative reforms that will change administrative practices and culture, and promote meritocracy have started to produce results.

The renewal of government efforts to reform local authorities and the judiciary in the fall of 2019 have made progress, though the results are not conclusive yet. The dissolution in 2018 of the Unit for Administrative Reform points to the need for a centralized coordinating body, which may be the DGC (formerly DGEPCD) for some issues.
1. Another 85 million by February if Cyprus meets deadline of key reforms, KnewsKathimerini, 22 September 2021,
Since the mid-1990s, government activities have adapted to, and are strongly influenced by, the European Union’s legislative framework. The main structures of government and methods of functioning have improved over time. The disjuncture between domestic structures and EU provisions and requirements was demonstrated by recurrent issues accompanying the use of EU structural funds on the national and regional level, but this has significantly improved over the last several years. In general, control over the use of EU funds further improved under the Sobotka and Babiš governments. However, the sustainability of EU-funded infrastructures and measures will remain a crucial issue, especially after 2020, when the current funding period concludes. In some areas, such as R&D, the government has a medium-term strategy for financial sustainability, in other areas, such as environmental protection and regional development, such a strategy is not yet in place. The European Union’s Recovery and Resilience Fund, offering the equivalent of 3.1% of 2020 GDP in grants largely for green transition and digitalization investments, required the formulation of a Czech national recovery plan. The plan, which was approved in September 2021, will be administered primarily by the Ministry of Industry and Trade. Existing structures are evidently considered adequately adaptable.
As in other EU member states, EU regulations have a significant impact on German legislation. The country’s legal system is heavily influenced by EU law, but the federal government does not have a central policy unit specifically coordinating and managing EU affairs. Each federal ministry is responsible for all matters within its sectoral purview related to the adoption, implementation and coordination of proposals by the European Commission. All federal ministries have specific EU units, and there are a variety of mechanisms and bodies for interministerial coordination on EU issues (Große Hüttmann 2007). In contrast to the federal government, all federal states have a ministry with explicit responsibility for EU issues. The Länder even determine Germany’s European policy in some areas that are the sole responsibility of the states (Article 23 of the Basic Law). The states consult with each other in a regular conference of ministers of European affairs, which is also attended by federal government and EU Commission representatives.
Thus, some coordination and adaptation is taking place, but federal structures present specific problems in terms of policy learning and adaptability to international and supranational developments. In general, Germany has not made serious attempts in the last years to rigorously adapt government structures to the changing national, international and transnational environment.
This is not my field of expertise, maybe the second reviewer has a closer look, I think this old answer would benefit from some more substance.

I added one article:

Große Hüttmann, Martin (2007): Die Koordination der deutschen Europapolitik, in: Aus Politik und Zeitgeschichte, 10/2007, p. 39-45, (accessed 13 February 2022).
Government reform has been on and off the agenda for at least 40 years, but there has been no substantial reform of the original government structure, which dates back to the 1848 constitution, “Thorbecke’s house.” The Council of State, which is the highest court of appeal in administrative law, is still part of the executive, not the judiciary. A brief experiment with consultative referendums was nipped in the bud early in the Rutte III cabinet rule. The Netherlands is one of the last countries in Europe in which mayors are appointed by the national government. In spring 2013, the Rutte II government largely withdrew its drastic plans to further reduce the number of local and municipal governments. Given the Dutch citizens’ relatively high level of trust in national institutions, it could be argued there was no need for reforms. But in 2021, as a response to the child benefit scandal and many other signs of policy failure, the general public’s levels of trust in politics and politicians suddenly dropped dramatically.

For years there had been a negative political mood, manifesting in typical expressions of unease like “I am OK, but the country is going down the drain,” by “angry” or “worried” citizens who feel they are not being “listened to,” are “not visible,” or are “forgotten,” “orphaned,” no longer “at home” and “threatened in their identity.” Some analysts framed this as the emergence of a psychological-populist political culture, exploited by both right-wing populist (PVV, FvD, JA91) and identitarian parties (Bij1, DENK) and human interest and lifestyle-based media. Dozens of political opinion leaders, scientists and even high-level civil servants stepped forward with analyses of how and why the political system structurally fails to be responsive, is averse to learning from failure, avoids deep political conflicts and, generally, lacks sufficient learning capacity. In these analyses two major points stand out. First, parliament has lost its capacity and interest in careful co-legislation; and in its role of holding the executive to account it lacks information about policy impacts on the life world of citizens. Second, in the executive, control over implementation has shifted to experts in process management, financial control and performance measurement. In other words, the bureaucracy’s ethos is no longer anchored in the concept of “public value and service for citizens” but rather in “correct rule compliance” and “cost-efficiency in the service delivery process.”

The first signs of trouble in this area came in a 2018 report by the Remkes Commission, which advocated state reforms rebalancing the demands of democracy and the rule of law. Among its 83 recommendations, the report advocated for the direct election of politicians tasked with forming new cabinets, the introduction of a binding corrective referendum process, the establishment of a Constitutional Court tasked with assessing the constitutionality of parliamentary laws, and procedures that would give voters greater influence over who is elected to parliament. The commission also called for a new political culture that would accept less detailed government coalition agreements, and would be more willing to consider the possibility of minority governments or governing through shifting majorities. In the 2021 coalition agreement, finally, in a first section entitled “strengthening of democracy and the rule of law” (versterking van de democratische rechtsorde), many of these recommendations are embraced as to-be-elaborated intentions and promises by the Rutte IV cabinet.
Gemeentelijke en provinciale herindelingen in Nederland (, consulted 27 October 2014)

Staatscommissie parlementair stelsel (die. Remkes), December 2018. Lage drempels, hoge dijken.Democratie en rechtsstaat in balans, Amsterdam: Boom

De Groen Amsterdammer, van der Hoeven, March 10, 2021. Is de publieke zaak nog in goede handen? ‘We moeten zaken simpeler willem huden.’

R. Bekker, March 2020. Dat had niet zo gemoeten.Fouten en fallen van de overheid onder het vergrootglas. Boombestuurskunde

J. Bussemaker, 2021. Ministerie van verbeelding. Idealen en de politieke praktijk, Uitgeverij Balans

NRC, de Witt Wijnen, January 15, 2021. Meer transparantie, altertere ambtenaren

Montesquieu Instituut, van den Berg en Kok, August 30, 2021. Onbehagen bestrijden? Meer rechtsstaat, minder emotiecultuur.

NRC, 22 November, 2021. Wantrouwen gaat niet over samenleving maar over politiek.

Coalitieakkoord, December 15, 2021. ‘Omzien naar elkaar, en vooruitkijken naar de toekomst’
Save for ensuring the absorption of EU funds, the Orbán governments have paid little attention to the adaptation of domestic government structures to international and supranational developments. In public, Orbán has stressed Hungarian independence, and has argued that his government is waging a freedom fight for national sovereignty against the European Union. Major institutional reforms have even reduced the fit of domestic government structures with international and supranational developments. The radical reduction in the number of ministries in the third Orbán government, for instance, has created huge problems with regard to EU affairs, as the ministries’ organization no longer matched that of other EU member states or the structure of the European Union’s Council of Ministers. In general, the centralized and erratic policymaking typical of the Orbán governments has been at odds with the more sectoral policymaking at the EU level and in most EU member states.
Poland’s government structures have been adapted to international and supranational developments, most notably because of NATO and EU membership. Before the PiS government came to power, Poland enjoyed a good reputation within the European Union, and its growing influence showed that adaptation had been successful. The PiS government has been more inward-looking, and has not only been much more reluctant to adopt domestic government structures to international requirements (and EU requirements in particular), but states that adaptation is unnecessary. It even opposes further EU harmonization and argues that more national independence is favorable in recent years.
In the past, Slovakia’s ability to adapt domestic government structures to international and supranational developments, most notably at the EU level, has been weak and its performance ambiguous and confusing. Despite several attempts at reform, the rate of absorption of EU funds has remained low, as the absorption of EU funds has been hindered by dysfunctional planning procedures, poor project design and selection, and the failure to comply with the requirements of environmental impact assessments. Recommendations by European Union or international organizations like the OECD, Council of Europe or UN divisions have been considered selectively. Due to various scandals in the education sector and the misuse of EU funds, Slovakia’s access to financial support from the European Union has tightened. Overall, Slovakia continues to perform poorly in drawing EU funds. During the programming period from 2014 to 2020, the country drew less than a third of the available funds, one of the lowest shares in the EU. Given the opportunities associated with the EU’s new Recovery and Resilience Funds, the new center-right government has launched some reforms to increase absorptive capacity. However, its effects have yet to be seen.
The international environment does not much affect the administrative structure of the Turkish state. The new presidential system has been presented as a unique system in the world that maximizes efficiency in decision-making and implementation.

Instead of following international recommendations and complying with global currency-market conditions during the latest economic and lira crisis in 2018, the government refused to consult with the IMF to counter the currency crisis effectively. Another example is the Capital Markets Board (SPK), a regulatory and supervisory authority in charge of securities markets in Turkey whose announcement that insider trading would not be punished was overturned by decree.

On another topic, the state authorities are in ongoing operational consultation with UN and EU bodies to handle the ongoing refugee crisis. Institutional and procedural reforms, regulations and new projects are continuously undertaken in accordance with international norms. However, Turkey’s military interventions in Syria and northern Iraq are largely considered to have undermined regional security and the country’s own efforts to restabilize the region and promote the resettlement of refugees. Moreover, Turkey has not responded to EU demands to revise anti-terror legislation or visa policies as part of the EU refugee agreement, nor does it meet various Copenhagen standards in certain policy fields that are required for EU accession. Finally, despite its regular consultation with the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), Turkey still ranks second after Russia in failing to execute ECHR rulings, especially concerning the political trials of Selahattin Demirtaş and Osman Kavala.
Cumhurbaşkanlığı Strateji ve Bütçe Başkanlığı. 2021 Yılı Cumhurbaşkanlığı Yıllık Programı.

European Commission. “Turkey Report 2021. Commission Staff Working Document.” October 19, 2021.
The government has not adapted domestic government structures, no matter how beneficial adaptation might be.
Back to Top