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. During the period under review, 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. Some critics expect Germany to take on a more active role militarily, but this has always been rejected by German politicians with reference to German history. Moreover, Germany has played a significant role in international climate negotiations (see “Global Environmental Policy”). The turn toward a more ambitious climate policy with the coalition agreement of 2021 is not only a reaction to domestic voter preferences, it also mirrors the aim of joining once again the club of the global climate policy forerunners and regain credibility as a promoter of a crucial global public good.

During the pandemic, Germany has been heavily involved with maintaining a global perspective on the crisis and has increased its support to developing countries. The country is a member of and a major donor to the international COVAX vaccination campaign. The German government’s involvement with the EU coronavirus response package “Next Generation EU” also demonstrated its ability to overcome national resistance to the shift toward greater European solidarity.

Generally, Germany is a constructive partner in international reform initiatives and is ready to accept substantial costs and risks in order to realize European and global public goods.
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 (Aggestam and Towns, 2018; Ingebritsen 2006). The country has traditionally been (and still is) a generous contributor to international development work and humanitarian aid (Regeringskansliet, 2021).

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” (Petridou et al., 2020; Pierre, 2016). However, in seeking to address the pandemic crisis, Sweden largely did not engage in international coordination.
Aggestam, Karin, and Ann Towns. 2018. “The Gender Turn in Diplomacy: a New Research Agenda.” International Feminist Journal of Politics, 21(1), 9-28.

Ingebritsen, Christine. 2006. “Scandinavia in World Politics.” Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield.

Pierre, Jon (ed.) 2016. “Oxford Handbook of Swedish Politics.” Oxford University Press.

Petridou, Evangelia, Jörgen Sparf, and Kari Pihl. (2020). Resilience Work in Swedish Local Governance: Evidence From the Areas of Climate Change Adaptation, Migration, and Violent Extremism.” In Pedro Pinto Santos, Ksenia Chmutina, Jason von Meding, Emmanuel Raju (eds.) “Understanding Disaster Risk: A Multidimensional Approach.” Amsterdam: Elsevier, 225-238.

Regeringskansliet (Government Offices of Sweden). 2021. Internationellt Unvecklingssamarbete.”
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 2021, and the presidency of the Nordic Council in 2022. 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/Marin 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.

Given the global characteristic of the pandemic, the Finnish government made remarkably little effort to promote international coordination. On the contrary, it has focused strongly on national efforts to contain the spread of the virus, centered on virological and epidemiological concerns. However, experts from the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health have attended meetings of the World Health Organization (WHO), the Council of the European Union, the European Commission and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC).

In addition, the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health and the Finnish institute of Health and Welfare have liaised with the ECDC and WHO. This collaboration has ensured that the impact of national policies on these global challenges have been assessed, and then incorporated into the government’s formulation, coordination and monitoring of policies. The Finnish Institute of Health and Welfare has established connections with similar agencies in other Nordic countries. These contacts have been used to exchange information and experiences on a weekly basis. However, decisions regarding the closure of borders between nation states have been taken at the national level, a practice that has created tensions between the Nordic countries.

The country’s national responses have demonstrated little solidarity with regard to the situation beyond Finland’s borders. However, the Finnish R&I sector has worked with its European and global counterparts to find ways to respond to the COVID-19 epidemic by using and leveraging existing collaborations, partnerships and projects (OECD 2020).
Institutions such as the Nordic Council could have provided a platform for coordination within the Nordic region. However, it seems that the Finnish government has been unwilling to engage effectively in regional cooperation. Finland has appropriate interministerial coordination groups in place, led by figures from the center of government, but their activities have focused almost exclusively on domestic matters. This indicates that the impact of national policies on global challenges has not been systematically assessed and incorporated into the formulation, coordination and monitoring of policies across government.
OECD, 2020. OEDC Survey on the STI Policy Response to Covid-19. Accessed 28.12. 2020.
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.

However, the credibility of French initiatives in the field of monetary or economic affairs have historically been impaired by the government’s inability to respect common rules signed by France, such as the stability pact of the European Monetary Union (EMU).
President Macron adopted a fundamentally different method. Having led an openly pro-European presidential campaign, he 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 ongoing crises in European and national governance systems. On crucial matters, France found it difficult to gain sufficient support for its proposals. For example, Macron’s ambitious EMU reform plans met with strong opposition. Paradoxically, the pandemic and the subsequent suspension of EU rules in the field of state aid, budgetary deficit and debt have offered the French government some breathing space, and created an opportunity to promote new rules and policies. Thus, France, along with Germany and the European Commission, was a driving force in launching the NextGenerationEU recovery fund, which is based on public European-level borrowing. Macron also saw the French EU presidency in the first half of 2022 as an opportunity to influence the EU agenda further in this direction.
Luxembourg is mainly involved in international reform initiatives in the framework of the European Union, as well as in the multilateral environment (OECD, ONU, UNESCO), including participation in cooperation for development across the world.

The Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda (adopted at the 2015 U.N. Summit), have been integrated into the 2021 Grand Duchy’s National Reform Program for the first time. The government is working to update its strategic approach with reference to the revised International Climate Finance Strategy (defined by the United Nations Climate Change Conference and the Paris Agreement), the Aichi Biodiversity targets, and the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, which sets standards and goals for climate action and environmental and social protection. The Grand Duchy signed a new strategic framework agreement (2020-2023) that will enable the World Health Organization (WHO) to implement the Thirteenth General Program of Work flexibly and effectively. All this should also contribute to making society more resilient.

According to Luxembourg’s development cooperation strategy, entitled “On the road to 2030,” the country provided international and multilateral organizations with €119.7 million in 2019 and €124.6 million in 2020. Luxembourg has been an essential supporter of the Global Fund since its inception. With contributions totaling more than €47.85 million to date, the country is one of the most generous donors among the members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
“National Plan for a Green, Digital and Inclusive Transition. National Reform Programme of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg under the European semester 2021.” The Government of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. form-programme-luxembourg_en.pdf. Accessed 03 Jan.2022.

“Economic forecast for Luxembourg 2020-2023. European Commission.” ts/economic-performance-country/luxembourg/economic-forecast-luxembourg_en. Accessed 03 Jan.2022.

“How Countries are Performing on the Road to Recovery.” World Economic Forum. Special edition 2020. Accessed 03 Jan.2022.

The Global Fund. Accessed 14 January 2022.
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, which specifies mechanisms for meeting New Zealand’s commitments under the Paris Agreement. 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. In spite of its small 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 latter figure was reelected as UN secretary-general in June 2021. The former was appointed chair of the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI) – an international partnership involving the World Health Organization, UNICEF, the World Bank and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, among others, which seeks to increase access to vaccines in poorer countries – beginning in January 2021.

During the review period, Portugal played a central role in terms of international coordination during its presidency of the Council of the European Union in the first semester of 2021, and through its participation in the presidency’s trio from July 2020 till the end of 2021. The Portuguese presidency was deemed very successful by the European Commission, as a number of important dossiers were advanced.
Politico (2021), “The Portuguese presidency’s policy efforts, marked,” available online at:

Eco (2021), “Von der Leyen: Portuguese presidency ‘incredibly successful’ despite pandemic,” available online at:
The years 2020 and 2021 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. The country’s foreign development agencies increased the budget for foreign aid in 2020 and 2021, announcing that they would prioritize global health and epidemic prevention in the country’s development cooperation policy.

In 2020, as a member of the UN Human Rights Council, the government supported a number of resolutions including those 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 various challenges including climate change (through the COP26), energy supply, financial stability and illegal migration (as a signatory to the Global Compact and several bilateral agreements). At the 26th edition of the United Nations Climate Change Conference, the government announced that Spain would increase its financial aid to less developed countries by 50%, to help them make a sustainable and just energy transition.

Opportunities for contributing to collective governance at the European level have expanded since the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the EU. For example, Spain played an important role in the negotiation of the NextGenerationEU program. Spain’s “non-paper on a European recovery strategy” included the suggestion that a top priority should be given to the ecological and digital transition of the economy, and to boosting the European Union’s long-term industrial and technological autonomy.
The government has advocated finding a common European answer to dealing with the energy crisis. However, member states decided to respect the current market rules and avoid any long-term reforms or market interventions.
Government of Spain (2020), non-paper on a European recovery strategy April 19, 2020,
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 reduced its engagement in international forums and agreements. This included lecturing NATO members on their allegedly insufficient contributions, withdrawing from the Paris Climate Agreement, declining to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement, and opting out of the World Health Organization in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic. Once again, here the Biden administration is moving in the opposite direction of its predecessor, notably by cancelling some of its isolationist decisions. For instance, the Democratic president returned the United States to the Paris Climate Agreement while rejoining the World Health Organization.
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; Charles Michel, current 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. While the government did submit Canada’s candidacy to serve on the UN Security Council in 2021-2022, that did not prove to be successful.

With respect to the Afghan crisis and the return of the Taliban, Canada has committed to settling 40,000 Afghans in Canada and has been working with international partners toward that end. To date, however, progress on that front has been minimal, with just over 4000 Afghans having been settled in the country and with substantial criticism that the process for application to Canada was slow in the face of the enormity of the crisis.
Government of Canada, “First charter flight of privately sponsored Afghan refugees arrives in Canada, 2 December 2021,

Government of Canada, “Supporting Afghan nationals: About the special programs,” 12 December 2020,
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. In 2020, Ireland secured a seat on the U.N. Security Council for the 2021–2022 term.

In this role, Ireland has sought to assume leadership roles in relation to women, peace and security, climate and security, Iran and the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), Somalia, among other areas. These roles reflect Ireland’s existing foreign policy priorities and strengths (DFA, 2021).

Ireland has continued to maintain a relatively high level of overseas development assistance since the onset of the economic crisis more than a decade ago (0.42% of GNI in 2021). 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 United Nation’s Global Goals (Sustainable Development Goals) in 2015, for example, and the Irish government participated fully in the COP26 U.N. Climate Change Conference in Glasgow in October–November 2021 (see “Global Environmental Policy”).
DFA (2021) Ireland’s Priorities for the UN Security Council, 2021-2022, Department of Foreign Affairs, 22 January, available at:

For an account of Ireland’s role in negotiating the Sustainable Development Goals see’s-special-role
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 size, but also to the fact that 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 (e.g., 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.

The first Conte government adopted a rather confrontational attitude toward the European Union and the main EU member states, which undermined its international actions. In contrast, the second Conte government increasingly adopted a more cooperative approach toward the European Union. Furthermore, the current Draghi government has significantly strengthened this cooperative attitude toward the European Union and at the same time with the new Biden administration. Thanks to the international prestige of the prime minister, Italy has played a more active role in various international forums, such as the G20 and COP26, and the current government has deliberately given the international arena much greater attention compared to previous governments.
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 LDP-led government to raise its profile, for instance by chairing the G-20 in 2019, with various initiatives getting underway. Like various other nations, Japan committed in 2020 to reaching carbon-neutrality by 2050. It remains to be seen, though, how implementation will pan out. The Climate Action Tracker, run by an international scientific consortium, rates Japan’s current efforts as insufficient.

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 and organizations like the Asian Development Bank. Also in response to Chinese-led institutions and signature initiatives like the Belt and Road Initiative, Japan has successfully promoted its own geostrategic initiatives such as the Free and Open Indo-Pacific Strategy, which aligns with, or has fed into, related designs of Australia, India and the United States. There has also been an invigoration of development cooperation with Africa, also in the context of the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD).
Japan’s Roadmap to “Beyond-Zero” Carbon, Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry,11 November 2020,

Climate Action Tracker, Japan country site, (accessed 17 February 2022)

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,
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. For several years now, Lithuania has honored its pledge to allocate 2% of GDP for defense, which 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. In addition, Lithuanian diplomats have not coordinated sufficiently with the country’s EU partners with respect to planned decisions vis-a-vis Taiwan and China.
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 40% below business-as-usual projections, which would represent an increase of 81% compared to 1990.

Following the adoption of its Digital, Green, and Human New Deals in 2020, Korea seems ready to take more of a proactive role in international cooperation. At a summit in 2021, President Moon and President Biden agreed on a U.S.- Korea technology partnership. In 2020, Korea pledged to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050; and at COP26 in 2021, it scaled up its NDC target. In line with President Moon’s inclusive, human-centered vision for Korean society, the administration finally pushed through three key ILO conventions for which labor rights activists have been advocating for decades. Moreover, it pledged to contribute significantly increased amounts to global health initiatives such as GAVI and the Global Fund.
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 long-time 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. Although popular support for the EU never fell below 60% in Eurobarometer studies, 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 government’s continued message that the country is an “unfairly” treated 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. Although the number of civil servants with legal, economic and administrative expertise at the EU level has undoubtedly increased due to their participation in EU consultative procedures, no new structural adjustments in departmental policy and legislative preparation have been implemented. At present, a political mood of “Dutch interests first” translates into a political attitude of unwillingness to adapt domestic political and policy infrastructure to international, particularly EU, trends and developments (beyond what has already been achieved). Nevertheless, Dutch ministers do play important roles in the coordination of financial policies at the EU level. The present vice-president of the European Commission, Frans Timmermans, is a former Dutch minister. 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 some 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. In tandem, they put the brakes on the Stability and Growth pact for a coordinated European approach to economic reforms and mitigation of the economic impacts of the coronavirus crisis. At of the time of writing, the Dutch were the only country to have not yet filed a national plan for reforms as a condition for gaining access to SGP funds.

But regarding the EU. there is change in the air. The December 2021 coalition agreement states that from now on, the Dutch government intends to play a leading role in making the EU more ready for decisive action, and in making it economically stronger, greener and more secure. This implies more willingness to implement EU directives swiftly and to cooperate on issues like climate, migration, security, trade and tax evasion. Tellingly, the Dutch government is considerably increasing its national defense budget, and supports EU military cooperation and a potential European security council. To date, information about EU policies and decisions have typically reached citizens not through governmental information services, but only through the media and the Dutch parliament through a large number of fragmented channels. As part of a new Europe Law, the government intends to structurally inform citizens and parliament more transparently about EU decision-making and the impacts and value-added associated with EU policies.

Globally, the Netherlands, ranking 11th out of 165 countries, is doing fairly well in achieving its own Sustainable Development Goals. The bad news is that its spillover score ranks 159th out of 165, meaning that it hardly has any positive spillover effects on other countries or parts of the world on dimensions like environmental and social impacts embodied in trade, economy, finance and security. Especially in the areas of the economy and finance, the country contributes to corporate tax evasion, financial secrecy and profit shifting; it also plays a small but substantial role in weapons exports.
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.

Instituut Clingendaal, Europa NU,22 december 2021. Europese Commissie wil brievenbusfirma’s aanpakken, Nederland onder de loep

Coalitieakkoord, December 15, 2021. ‘Omzien naae elkaar, vooruitkijken naar de toekomst.

Sustainable Development Report 2021 – SDG Index
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. It also supported initiatives to raise the lending capacity of the IMF, enabling it to boost support for low-income members badly affected by the pandemic

Following the decision to leave the European Union, the United Kingdom had to rethink its role in the world, especially among its European neighbors. While the Johnson government has emphasized its independence vis-a-vis its European partner countries by treating them somewhat robustly, it has played up its “Global Britain” profile by putting resources into COP26, the COVAX initiative and increasing funding for the WHO during the pandemic. Prime Minister Johnson hosted the Gavi donor conference (which secured pledges for vaccine funding for poorer countries) held in London in June 2020. Following the Carbis Bay G7 meeting chaired by the United Kingdom in July 2021, the United Kingdom undertook to donate 100 million vaccine doses by the summer of 2022.
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.

In 2021, Estonia’s participation in the OECD’s global minimum tax initiative became a sensitive topic for the government. The government had strong reservations and joined only in very final stage of the process. As of the end of 2021, the government is attempting to secure exemption from the relevant EU directive.
Latvia largely contributes to international actions by participating in the development of EU policy positions and by integrating Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) into its own policies.

Institutional arrangements for formulating 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, although this could to some extent be addressed by improving communication and by sharing the positions in a timelier manner.

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.

Latvia also contributes to the global Agenda 2030 by integrating the SDGs into the national development planning system. Policy documents drawn up in 2017 made reference to the SDGs, but the new National Development Plan 2021 – 2027 does not include any detailed references. Moreover, the National Development Council had its the last meeting in February 2020; thus, there is currently no institutional system at the highest level engaging in ongoing review of the country’s contribution to global development. Nevertheless, in 2022, Latvia plans to submit its National Voluntary Review on the implementation of the SDG to the U.N. High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF), and an ad hoc open process is going to be established. Overall, the weak institutional and policy framework with regard to SDG accountability translates into low policy coherence in the area of global development, at least in comparison to EU coordination, which is rather well established.
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 the European Union (Gould/ Malová 2020). However, Slovakia’s reputation and standing in the EU has suffered from Slovakia aligning with the position of other Visegrád countries in the EU refugee crisis and the increasingly pro-Russian stance of some political parties (SNS, Smer-SD, ĽSNS). The new center-right government is comprised of pro-European parties (OLANO and Za Ľudi) as well as euroskeptical parties (SaS, Sme-Rodina). This makes it difficult to align in a clear way with EU policies. This was demonstrated by the controversies over the purchase of the Russian vaccine, which contributed to the coalition crisis and government reshuffle in spring 2021.
Gould, J., D. Malová (2019): Toxic Ordoliberalism on the EU’s Periphery: Slovakia, the Euro and the Migrant Crisis, in: J. Bátora, J.E. Fossum (eds.), Towards a Segmented European Political Order: The European Union’s Post-Crises Conundrum. London/ New York: Routledge, 112-131.
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. Geopolitical conflicts have further reduced the range of options available to Australia’s middle power diplomacy.
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.

Austria has enjoyed a long-standing reputation as a “bridge-building actor” at the international level, though the main contribution to this has been hosting international meetings in the federal capital, Vienna. At the same time, Austria has tried to avoid any clear-cut positioning, which in many cases could be justified by the country’s constitutional commitment to neutrality. This tradition has continued under the ÖVP-Green government. For example, in late 2021, international talks over the Iran nuclear deal resumed in Vienna, where the first major deal had been struck back in 2015. In December 2021, Chancellor Nehammer also suggested that Austria should act as a “bridgebuilder” in the Russia-Ukraine conflict, though it remained largely unclear what exactly this would involve.
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 was not very active in improving cooperation with the other successor states of the former Yugoslavia. President Milanović has not as yet changed that direction, leaving relations with Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia strained.
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.

Moreover, in contrast to the pre-2019 period, Greece has been more active in EU forums. For instance, in January 2021, the Greek government officially submitted a proposal to EU authorities to establish a EU-wide vaccination certificate for people vaccinated against COVID-19.

Ιn May 2021, Greece submitted a candidacy for non-permanent member of the UN Security Council (2025-6).

Over time, however, Greece has been unable to develop institutional capacities for fostering the provision of global public goods beyond its role as an EU member state.
Greece’s official proposal for a EU-wide vaccination certificate is available at:
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. 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. The 2013 – 2016 cabinet rejected demands for a national referendum on whether Iceland should resume its membership negotiations with the European Union. This contributed to a split within the Independence Party, which produced a splinter party, Regeneration. Yet, when the Independence Party formed a cabinet coalition with Regeneration and Bright Future in early 2017, the coalition agreement included only a vaguely worded intention to hold a national referendum on the issue. Following the breakup of that coalition, which led to a new election in late 2017, the question remains unresolved. All three coalition parties in the right-center-left cabinet, which has been in office since 2017, publicly oppose EU membership.

Iceland’s small size constrains its effective contributions in international forums. The government says all the right things about global warming and peace, but its global contribution in this regard can only be minuscule. Concerning poverty reduction, Iceland’s development assistance remains small, far below UN goals, and has been scaled back.
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.

However, most ministerial committees do not have specific responsibility for the implementation of OECD recommendations. The exception is the ministerial committee on regulatory affairs. Another example of Israel’s intention to be part of international collaboration to foster public goods is its involvement in the Eastern Mediterranean Gas Forum, which 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.
“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):
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 European Union. Since 1975, Malta has been a rapporteur of the UN Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People. It continues to support good-governance efforts in Libya and Tunisia and co-operates closely on refugee and migration issues with neighboring countries. Malta accepts more asylum-seekers per capital than almost all other countries and was one of the few EU member states to honor in full the EU relocation program by taking in its full quota. Since 2020, Malta has sought to extend its actions in sub-Saharan Africa and has provided COVID-19 vaccines to a number of African countries, among other supports. It is now providing scholarships to young diplomats from the Mediterranean and a number of African states. Indeed, over the last four years, Malta has done as much as it could on several international issues. One such issue concerns Libya, as Malta continues to seek ways to assist the country’s peace process and aid humanitarian efforts. 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 UN Security Council for the 2023 – 2024 term.
Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs website.
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 G-20 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.
President López Obrador and Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard have revitalized CELAC in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic, using the pro tempore CELAC presidency to lead the demand for equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines and medical supplies. Additionally, Mexico has started domestic vaccine production and has distributed the results across Latin America. The weak standing of the United States and the absence of Brazil as a regional actor has opened space for a Mexican diplomatic comeback.
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 has been more urbane than his predecessors, the government’s basic approach toward the European Union has not changed. 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. This has received only half-hearted responses from both the Trump and Biden administrations. Within the Visegrád group (Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia) collaboration is closer and more collective – a tendency that also stretches to other countries in the region – although differing attitudes toward Russia are a source of division between these countries. Regarding climate change measures and energy policy, the government also stresses national interests, which follow the coal industry’s interests, but slowly seems to be making a policy shift. While Poland blocked any progress at the European Council summit in June 2019 on the issue of becoming CO2 neutral by 2050, the government is now adapting its course to become more environmentally friendly. However, Poland did not coordinate its actions with other EU member states or EU agencies such as Frontex during the COVID-19 pandemic or during the Belarus border crisis in autumn and winter 2021/22.
Bayer, L., Z. Wanat (2020): Hungary and Poland block EU coronavirus recovery package, in: Politico, November 16 (
Romanian governments have supported international efforts to provide global public goods. The country has been actively involved in various UN peacekeeping missions, has contributed to global action against climate change and has participated constructively in the allocation of refugees within the European Union. 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 UN Security Council from 2020–2021; an initiative that was ultimately unsuccessful as members opted to award the seat to Estonia instead. Romania remains committed to joining the Schengen Area as soon as possible, an ambition regularly reiterated in meetings with the European Council. However, Romania’s international standing has suffered from the democratic backsliding.
Like their predecessors, the Šarec and partially also the Janša governments have been preoccupied with domestic political and economic issues and have 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. In a judicial setback to Slovenia in its long dispute with Croatia over their maritime border, the Court of Justice said in January 2020 it has no jurisdiction to rule on the dispute and merely urged both sides to resolve their differences. In addition, during the period under review, Slovenia took over the presidency of the Council of the European Union for the second time in the second half of 2021.
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.

However, the policy of neutrality and the objective of safeguarding national autonomy set clear limits to the country’s international engagement in the past, 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
Government bodies in Bulgaria have the capacity to correspond and coordinate with international institutions, and to 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 insufficient 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 waits 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.

In 2021, Bulgaria’s position vis-à-vis North Macedonia resulted in an unintended form of self-isolation.
The proclaimed role of Cyprus as a bridge between three continents draws on its geographical location. However, the almost exclusive focus on and preoccupation with domestic issues has prevented initiatives to broaden the country’s role. Opportunities offered through membership in the European Union, United Nations and other organizations could assist Cyprus to be a valuable contributor to both regional and global politics, benefiting public welfare. In recent years, particular focus on bi- and trilateral relations have aimed to coordinate the exploitation of hydrocarbons in the Eastern Mediterranean. More recently, cooperation with neighboring countries has focused on issues of climate change.
Existing conflicts in the region are partly fueled or affected by hydrocarbon exploration, which makes it difficult to secure a better environment for all. The Cyprus conflict occupies a central role in existing problems.
1. Turkey slams Cyprus over exploration license for Exxon, Qatar Petroleum in Mediterranean, 2 December 2021,
Policymaking in Czechia continues to be inward-looking. Successive governments have confined themselves to being a trusted and reliable international partner, but have not aimed to become a leader in international affairs. Since 2015, however, Czechia has become more active on the EU stage, building alliances within and beyond the CEE region in order to shape EU policies. It has opposed EU quotas for the relocation of refugees and has tried to water down the environmental goals of the European Union. In 2021/22, Czechia allied with other countries to lobby for the inclusion of nuclear power within the definition of green recovery. Like its predecessors, the Babiš government has invested little in improving the institutional capacities for greater international coordination.
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 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).

Since, 2014, Turkey has cooperated with EU member states in seeking to identify foreign terrorist fighters (FTF) looking to cross Turkey to reach – or return from – Syria or Iraq. It has acted assertively in sending FTFs back to their countries of origin. At the same time, state authorities at times instrumentalize the refugee issue to advance national interests against Greece and other EU states instead of seeking joint understanding and sustainable solutions. In addition, the Ministry of National Defense takes part in joint peacekeeping and humanitarian operations in Afghanistan, Kosovo, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Qatar. Turkey has made some public efforts to support the 2030 Agenda associated with the Sustainable Development Goals.

However, problems persist on several fronts, for instance regarding the armament of the Republic of Cyprus. Turkey’s search for natural gas in the eastern Mediterranean has caused severe tension with the major players in the region. U.S.-Turkey relations severely deteriorated during the review period. Turkey’s purchase of S-400 missiles from Russia led to the enforcement of the U.S. Countering America’s Adversaries through Sanctions Act (CAATSA), with sanctions taking effect in April 2021. The Halkbank case, Fethullah Gülen’s possible extradition, and the U.S. support for Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces are also stressing the already fragile relationship. Nevertheless, both parties have found some common ground for cooperation in Afghanistan.

In recent years, Turkey increased its investment in Africa, especially in Somalia, despite the humanitarian costs due to several deadly attacks against Turks. Relations with Israel have improved considerably. In Syria, Turkey actively worked through the Astana Process, a tripartite committee that also involves Iran and Russia. In jihadist-controlled Idlib, military observation posts have been established. Additionally, Turkey has become a close ally of Russia, and has extended its cooperation in the fields of defense, energy and tourism. Efforts have also been made to align Turkey’s Middle Corridor infrastructure strategy with China’s Belt and Road Initiative.
European Commission. “Turkey Report 2021. Commission Staff Working Document.” October 19, 2021.

TİKA Annual Report 2020,
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 (Mészáros 2021). However, all these activities have further undermined his standing with other European leaders and have contributed to a “self-peripheralization” (Hegedüs 2021) of Hungary in the European Union. The Orbán government has sometimes been able to block or to delay agreements, but has lacked the capacity to set the agenda.
Hegedüs, D. (2021): Ungarns Selbstperipherisierung in der Europäischen Union: Hintergründe und Aussichten, in: Ellen Bos, Astrid Lorenz (Hrsg.), Das politische System Ungarns: Nationale Demokratieentwicklung, Orbán und die EU. Wiesbaden: Springer VS, S. 191-208.

Mészáros, T. (2021): As Hungary lauds its ‘Eastern Opening’ policy, statistics fail to show benefits, in: Euractive, May 12 ( onomy-jobs/news/as-hungary-lauds-it s-eastern-opening-policy-statistics -fail-to-show-benefits/).
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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