Viktor Orbán’s nativist rhetoric and attacks on the constitution and the independent media have triggered international censure, but he has retained his strong standing in Hungary – until now. Has a turning point been reached?
Issues like globalization, social inequality and climate protection top the global to-do list. But can OECD and EU countries rise to these challenges amid political polarization and declining democratic standards?
Contrary to expectations, new populist leaders from countries in Central Eastern Europe perform betterthan their governance quality would suggest. What does that mean for the forthcoming European Parliament elections?
Italy’s government, especially the populist Five-Star Movement (M5S), is on a collision course with the European Union. Where is the communication breakdown headed?
The new Democratic Party majority in the U.S. House promise to hold the President “accountable” for his conduct. Indeed, pundits observed that the midterm result will change Trump’s life – very much for the worse.
Ten years after the G20 held its first ever summit, the informal group is meeting for the first time in South America. But can the closely watched gathering calm tensions amid the escalating trade war?
Turkey opens what it dubs the world’s largest airport, a massive infrastructure project in keeping with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's outsized influence on national politics. But will he be able to retain his tight grip?
The Bavarian Christian Social Union (CSU) looks about to wave goodbye to its absolute majority. But what would that mean for Bavaria and beyond?
Everyone's keen to spend, as long as they don't foot the bill. A lack of tax autonomy in Germany's federal system means that better-off states are vying to spend more.
Ahead of Sweden’s general elections support for the populist, far-right Swedish Democrats is surging, and traditional patters of party collaboration are in flux. Is Sweden in danger of becoming ungovernable?
Nine years of European bailouts have left Greece reeling from painful reforms and investor anxiety. But, with bailouts due to end soon, can Greece make a clean break from the turbulent chapter?
Being a leading tech innovator is vital to secure global influence in the future. But can Europe catch up with the U.S. and China?
In the run-up to the NATO summit in Brussels, the mood within the alliance is frosty. There is hardly any aspect of transatlantic cooperation where the U.S. and its NATO partners still see eye to eye.
Time-consuming negotiations with the European Union plus deep divisions within the two leading parties are hampering Britain’s day-to-day politics.
At the upcoming G7 meeting in Canada all eyes will be on Justin Trudeau as he attempts to sidestep potential political pitfalls.
All over the world, the Dutch retirement system is considered one of the best but at home it has come under fire. Are the concerns justified?
Under Viktor Orbán, Hungary has long been an enemy of democratic values and acted as an impediment to the deepening of the European Union. Will the parliamentary elections on April 8 change that?
Poland’s declining democratic credentials have sparked a growing distance with the rest of the European Union. And there is scant sign that bridges will be built any time soon.
The general assumption was that the political and parliamentary landscape of Italy would become more complex after the 2018 elections. However, quite unexpected was the major political earthquake the vote has triggered.
The Italian parliamentary elections on March 4 are expected to yield no easy results, as no party is likely to be able to form a government alone. Which government will take charge and what policies will it adopt?
The clear winner of the Czech general elections, populist Andrej Babiš, is a lonesome man. Now the Chamber of Deputies voted no-confidence for his cabinet. But the wall of resistance is brittle.
Czechoslovakia split into two independent states a quarter of a century ago. It never would have happened if the people had decided. What kind of relationship do the Czech Republic and Slovakia have today?
Right-wing populists all over Europe are capitalizing on a widespread sense of dissatisfaction. What does their success mean for the future of democracy, human rights and social justice?
Social inequality, climate change, demographic shifts, global migration and digital transformation are the biggest challenges facing the governments of EU and OECD states. How forward-looking are their responses?
Some of the Bulgarian politicians who will preside over European meetings in Brussels in the first half of 2018 are nationalists. Is the EU to be blamed for letting them play a role on the European stage?
Has the decline of Austria’s catch-all parties come to an end? The People’s Party at least seems to have successfully reinvented itself. Or is someone else hiding in their new clothes?
Japan and the European Union agreed upon the broad lines of a free trade deal. More than slashing tariffs on wine and cars, it now needs to build a framework for future investor relations in Asia.
“Kiwis” are fret about inequality, poverty and high prices of housing. However, a capital gains tax is far from being the key to win the general elections on September 23. Are New Zealanders irrational?
On September 11, 2017, the Norwegian population will be heading to the polls to elect a new government. Apart from the choice between centre-right or centre-left, the country has to make important strategic decisions.
Emmanuel Macron has gotten off to a convincing start. He is cleverly and decisively enlisting support from politicians and society for his reforms. But he is bound to meet troubles at the end of summer.
Never before have the primary elections in Chile been politically so insignificant. The people’s lack of trust in politics shakes up the old political structures. In the presidential race, having no alliance could be key to win.
Is France entering a phase of fundamental change? Emmanuel Macron has gotten off to a convincing start. He is cleverly and decisively enlisting support from politicians and society for his reforms.
Berlin’s twin surplus threatens its global credibility. Germany should undertake a major tax reform that satisfies both the country’s critics and its defenders.
The election in the UK will to a large extent centre on what sort of exit from the EU the country might be able to achieve. How could an enhanced mandate for Prime Minister Theresa May affect the negotiations of Brexit?
Mining and water policies currently do not sufficiently protect circumpolar communities and their environment. The Arctic needs a robust and sustainable water governance framework.
The rise of Marine Le Pen and Emmanuel Macron in the run-up to the French presidential elections reflects a wider dissatisfaction with the political system. Is France on the verge of a political breakthrough?
Mexico faces tough negotiations with the US over the future of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). What seems to be a threat for the economy might also be a chance to reduce its dependence on its Northern neighbor.
Contrary to predictions, the Dutch may, in fact, be a bellwether inspiring citizens in Europe to engage again in serious national debates on core issues of fundamental politics.
Challenging the liberal-internationalist leadership of the European Union, the Visegrád bloc promotes a conservative Europe. Yet not least demographics show the weaknesses of the Central Europeans’ alternative vision for Europe.
In both Europe and the United States labor markets are becoming increasingly fragmented. The unequal concentration of social justice on temporary workers could be a contributing factor to the rise of populist political ideologies.
We spoke with the authors of the Bertelsmann Stiftung's 2016 Social Justice Index about growing opportunities for social participation in Europe and why many people are in danger of poverty despite successes on the labor market.
For the first time since the economic crisis in 2008, EU citizens' opportunities for social participation have improved slightly. However, the risk of poverty play into the hands of rising populist movements.
Why the decline of Turkish democracy predates the coup attempt of July and why the country nonetheless has the potential to adopt a sustainable political model.
With Donald Trump's agenda on border security, migration and commerce, further right wing polarization may disrupt the bilateral relationship between Mexico and the United States – and weaken the U.S. itself.
In the past two years, Australia's viability for the future has dramatically decreased and its need for reform with regards to economic, social and ecological sustainability has increased enormously.
Following Great Britain's decision to exit the European Union, the EU-27 needs to find ways to recover its popularity and prosperity. Could closer cooperation in defense and a Eurozone Parliament foster the Union's resilience?
How viable is United States for the future? How large is the country's need for reform with regards to its economic, social and ecological sustainability? Let’s say: there is work to be done!
Nations both close and distant to the Arctic Circle are increasingly becoming engaged in the Arctic. The EU is planning to put the region on the map of international attention but it speaks volumes by what it leaves out.
The European Union's new Global Strategy for Foreign and Security Policy provides a much-needed vision for the EU's external relations. But the loss of the United Kingdom following Brexit may threaten the Strategy's success.
International comparison of future viability: Nordic countries still best equipped for the future, but top position wavering.
Mexico has one of the worst tax systems of all industrialized countries. The Panama Papers indicate that the government should be more watchful of multimillionaires and their companies.
Pledging a new commitment to climate action, the liberal government of Justin Trudeau will have to reconcile these initiatives with the economic boom generated by oil extraction. Canada faces tough decisions.
Social inequality and divisions between classes, generations and regions were key in fostering anti-European sentiments among many Britons in the recent EU referendum. British social policies are in dire need of reform.
Ideological polarization is a key challenge for United States politics and society. Andrew Tanabe discusses paths forward to break political deadlocks and repair partisan divides.
The Panama papers show that many countries around the world have failed to tackle tax avoidance and evasion. It's not just a question of increasing transparency but enforcing international standards.
Faced with climate change, the dilemmas between social justice and a sustainable use of natural resources pose great challenges for European societies. So, what next for European welfare capitalism if we want a low-carbon future?
Demanding labor markets, high social benefits – many people believe the universal Nordic welfare states may be less able to face the challenges of migration than other countries. Does evidence support this view?
In an election upset in Korea, President Park’s conservative Saenuri Party has lost its parliamentary majority. But while voters may have shifted to the left, the political spectrum moved to the right.
Most economically powerful countries have a head start in terms of capacity to meet the United Nations’ SDGs. Yet, having the means doesn’t necessarily mean having the will. How does this impact on citizens’ life satisfaction?
Characterized by inappropriate state controls, state-owned enterprises mark a key challenge in the fight against corruption in Romania, Bulgaria, Croatia, Slovenia and Hungary.
Children and young people are among the biggest losers in the European economic and debt crisis. What do the staggering numbers in youth unemployment and child poverty in Europe mean for the future of this generation – and the...
Oscillating between trying to conform to EU norms and nativist backlash, countries in southeast Europe are often caught in a love-hate relationship with Europe. While there are bright spots, bad government and corruption remain...
Financial instability, social inequality and environmental degradation – policy-makers in all countries face these global challenges. Which countries are doing best to address them?
Despite its achievements, the Paris Agreement is flawed. Without full consideration of water resources, climate policies and energy progress will fail to protect communities and foster sustainable development.
In the face of demographic change, it's essential to strengthen social cohesion in Europe. A swift integration of migrants into societies and labour markets could transform the refugee crisis into an opportunity for Europe.
Chile, Mexico, and the United States share many woes that hinder sustainable development. What could they learn from one another and which best-practice strategies could they adopt from other OECD countries?
Many of Europe's most vulnerable citizens bear the brunt of the economic and financial crisis. Sound social policy, not solely the pursuit of growth, is the best tool to ensure social justice on the continent.
Beginning in 2016, OECD nations will have to implement the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals. While most of them are at risk of failure, the Nordic countries are leading the pack on sustainable development.
In international comparison, Australia still shows some of the best policy performances. But this might change as the country's political leadership lacks a vision for the future - and people lack trust in their politicians.
The creation of an EU-wide energy system is a declared goal of the European Commission. While some EU countries are more amenable to it than others, adapting domestic government structures to EU affairs remains a key challenge.
When world leaders met last week for the UN summit, it was about more than grand gestures and speeches. Policy makers were asked if they had done their homework for promoting sustainable development. It turns out, they had not.
In the eyes of many, centrist parties have failed to deal with Europe's economic and social challenges. As elections in Denmark and Spain have shown, voters are increasingly turning towards the edges of the political spectrum.
An open, liberal economy combined with redistribution and social welfare: The Danish model has largely weathered the storm of the financial and euro crises. Yet, not all is rosy in the Kingdom of Denmark.
A balance between assistance, pressure and conditionality: Can cooperation between civil society and the donor community translate into better governance in Ukraine?
Chile is one of the world's top nations on e-governance. Yet without better policy knowledge and education, technological tools are not enough to improve the Andean nations democracy.
It does not need a Grexit to speak about European disintegration. A growing democratic vacuum also threatens the integration capacity of the European Union and its member states.
Klaus Iohannis' election as president was a signal that Romania is on a good path towards more political participation. But can the political will to reform outlast election euphoria?
In shaping the European response to Russia during the Ukraine crisis, Paris and Berlin have taken an assertive role. But do France and Germany provide enough leadership to turn the European Union into a true strategic power?
Jean-Claude Juncker's European Commission has declared to put social issues further up on its agenda. Yet, the European Union and its member states need to focus on more than economic growth to foster social justice in Europe.
Conserving natural resources and the environment is an integral part of a socially just society. The big challenge is to make sure that decision-makers recognize this – and act on it.
In Europe, Belgian citizens account for one of the largest per capita shares of foreign Islamic State fighters. Belgium must do more to promote equal opportunities to improve the integration of migrants, argues Craig J. Willy.
Rigid austerity policies have driven economic recovery in the United Kingdom but only at the cost of massive increase in social inequality. Poverty prevention and intergenerational justice remain major challenges.
The new EU Social Justice Index shows that all European Union countries have room for improving equitable access to their labor markets. Otherwise the union's promise of peace and prosperity will not be fulfilled.
The death of 43 students in Guerrero has shown once again that Mexico belongs to the world's most dangerous places. Yet long term solutions are needed restore citizens' trust in the the police and policy makers.
Canada's federal government should follow the example of provincial regulations and unify the country's climate policy.
Low fertility, low immigration and low female participation in the labor force: Japans needs more action to address demographic challenges, as those are major underlying causes of weakening economic growth in the island-nation.
The new EU Social Justice Index finds that fostering social justice is not only compatible with educational excellence but, in fact, often delivers well-performing school systems.
Political scientist Maurizio Cotta discusses the challenges of intergenerational inequality in Italy, Matteo Renzi's labor market reforms, and why Europe needs to put social justice at the top of its policy agenda.
Environmental policy in the OECD largely stagnates. While financing and enforcing policies is essential, geographic and demographic factors also play a role for countries’ success in conservation issues.
The election of Andrej Kiska as fourth Slovak president was a blow to Prime Minister Robert Fico. Kiska's first actions might even signal a change in the country's political atmosphere.
The Bertelsmann Stiftung's new EU Social Justice Index shows that social injustice in the European Union is on the rise. The study highlights the challenges of a multinational social policy.
The Bertelsmann Stiftung's new Social Justice Index finds that young people are affected most by the social division in Europe. This threatens the future viability of the European project and calls for a European social strategy.
Chile's media is highly concentrated. With two groups dominating the market, pluralistic public opinion is constrained. Hopes now rest on the new president who has promised to reform the system.
Which countries in the European Union are helping to stabilize the global financial system, and how? The latest edition of the Bertelsmann Stiftung's Sustainable Governance Indicators gives some answers.
Media laws in Macedonia and Slovenia are largely in line with international standards. Yet to guarantee a transparent system and independent reporting this is not enough.
In contrast to neighbouring Ukraine, strong governance makes Estonia less vulnerable to internal challenges to stability. Yet, economic sanctions on Russia could have a profound impact on the Baltic state too.
Ten years after the European Union's Eastern enlargement, the diverging development of Poland and Hungary highlight how fragile attachment to Western orientation and institutions potentially is.
Nordic civil societies focus on interest group representation and recreational activities. Yet especially in Norway, civic engagement is increasingly motivated by individualistic goals. Does this affect the quality of democracy?
Turkey is deeply split between supporters of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the opposition. The constitutional court remains one of the few buffers between them. But is this enough to uphold democracy?
As the SGI 2014 found, multilateral environmental cooperation in the OECD and EU stagnates. It might indeed be easier to create partnerships than enforceable regulations and law.
Martine Durand, Chief Statistician of the OECD, talks about the importance of measuring and analysing wellbeing and the impact this could have on policy making.
Gus O'Donnell, Chair of the Legatum Institute Commission on Wellbeing Policy, talks about the implications of applying wellbeing analysis to public policy.
Luxembourg leads the world on global social policy. This has not only aided developing countries but also the diminutive nation’s financial sector and its international influence.
Fukushima triggered vibrant civic engagement in Japan. Yet Japanese clientelistic politics undermines any effective democratic control. Not even the nuclear catastrophe has changed that.
The latest SGI findings show that the gap between rich and poor is growing in OECD and EU countries. Scandinavia tops the ranking, while participation opportunities in southern Europe are declining.
Asia's growth has been one of the success stories of the 21st century. But it has created pressure on the environment too, particularly water supplies. So, how do China, India, Indonesia and Vietnam protect their water resources?
While the Czech Republic shows signs of a new right direction to curb corruption and bolster the rule of law, Russia is taking steps to bring its judiciary under even tighter control. This might also dim its economic future.
"The more the merrier" or "as big as necessary"? Arctic governance shows how small-size policy-making can complement more inclusive agreements in order to ensure the right level of participation for "right-sized" policy-making.
The SGI team talks about the upcoming release of the SGI 2014, the creation of a Learning Network for Governance Innovations and what the financial and economic crisis reveals about governments’ capacity for reform.
Political scientist Lucio Renno talks about the role of personality in Brazilian politics and the dangers of debt and inflation, and he gives his outlook for the upcoming presidential election year.
All OECD countries are creating an ecological footprint that exceeds the earth’s capacity. To ensure intergenerational justice, nations must consider the impact of today’s exploitation of natural resources on future generations.
Political scientist Thomas Kalinowski talks about South Korea’s first female president, quality of democracy and social justice as well as the role of the national intelligence service.
When it comes to balancing the needs of current and future generations, the Nordic welfare states have done fairly well. Yet, environmental considerations remain neglected – in the Nordic countries and elsewhere in the OECD.
The world is increasingly a non-Western one. Europe will have to change, either forcing others to respect Western legal and commercial principles or adapting itself to the East Asian development model.
What should policy makers do to promote fairness between the young and the old? Invest in intergenerational measures and introduce proxy voting for children, for example, says SGI’s senior project manager.
As the global leader in hydropower, China must adopt environmental policies that account for methane and carbon emissions as well as ecosystem disruptions and erosion potential.
A country’s age distribution isn’t the best predictor of justice between the young and the old. What matters is good policy. A new SGI study analyses how 29 OECD countries deal with the fairness between generations.
In order to overcome the short-termism that plagues the practice of democracy, the idea of civic education needs to be revitalised, argues Halina Ward in the third part of our series. Do we need a new type of citizen?
What role does democracy play in sustainable development and governance in Asia? A new SGI study provides some answers. An interview with one of the authors of the study, political scientist Christian Goebel.
The election of Park Geun-hye as South Korea’s first female president signaled a historic change of governance. Yet, after her first six months in office Ms. Park still needs to translate her words into deeds.
In order to avoid a demographic “death trap” Western Europe must implement new and fair policies for both present and future generations. The SGI study suggests some radical solutions.
The recent anti-government protests in Turkey show that the country’s quality of democracy is the worst in the OECD. Brussels must treat Turkey’s bid for EU membership seriously to support reforms and the rule of law.
Singapore and Indonesia: two economic successes based on different modes of governance. Yet both share the challenge of ensuring that growth benefits everyone in their societies.
The recent protests in Brazil show that GDP growth alone does not suffice for sustainable development. The emerging economies must invest in better governance capacities to foster inclusive growth and social justice.
Dysfunctional politics in Europe and the US can stand in the way of attempts to make the top 1% bear the brunt of austerity measures, argues Max Rashbrooke.
Brazil’s media is characterized by oligopolistic ownership and certain opinions dominate. Journalists and human rights activist call for new laws to safeguard freedom of speech and access to information.
Relations between China and the EU on energy are fraught: The quarrel over tariffs could pit the two against each other in a wider struggle. Technical rather than political cooperation seems the most both sides can hope for.
Investing in natural resilience is key for communities to grow in concert with their environment. A look at how the Netherlands and Poland adapt to climate change.
A new study by the Sustainable Governance Indicators project ranks Estonia highest among 29 OECD countries in terms of fair policies for both the young and the old.
It’s time for the EU to re-assess its relations with Russia: Instead of hesitating between engagement and containment of its biggest neighbour, Europe should consider a strategic pause with Moscow.
Patent registration, scientific citations and R&D policies: How the emerging powers Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa demonstrate the path of uneven development.
Corruption is one of the greatest dangers to democracy. But current policies often don’t pay out. Anti-corruption efforts must focus more on civil society actors instead of governments.
Civil society in South Africa is vibrant – yet fragmented, underfunded and often under government auspices. But new initiatives in education and health show a new thinking about effective civic engagement.
Is this the key to fiscal sustainability? In contrast to what is said by some EU officials and the U.S. Tea Party, higher taxes tend to coincide with lower deficits and low debt, Craig J. Willy writes.
Boon or Bane? Hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking", stirs controversy. The technology offers temporary economic incentives, but also poses huge environmental risks, argues Alison Singer from the Worldwatch Institute.
Helmut Reisen, until recently head of research at OECD Development Centre, talks about the economic and social affairs of the BRICS countries and the reasons why South Africa is no longer a model for sustainable development.
New technologies can be useful tools for improving voter and registration rights when framed by strong institutions. A pilot project in Norway shows how this might work.
Mira Kamdar from the World Policy Institute in New York about democratic governance and women safety in India and the country's challenges of global warming.
In the post-Communist Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia, democracy has become the only game in town. But how well is it played, and who plays it best?
Milos Zeman, a strong supporter of European integration, will be the next president of the Czech Republic: an opportunity to examine the relations between his country and Western Europe. Does the Iron Curtain still exist?
The benchmarks of the integration of immigrants are diverse. Antonia Sohns examines migration policies in the OECD and argues for more efforts in education, employment and civic engagement.
In New Zealand, a widening gap between the rich and the rest threatens many of the country's greatest strengths, writes Max Rashbrooke, who argues for a new settlement of welfare.
From economic success to health and social inclusion: education is a key element in many fields. Justine Doody examines education as cross-governmental priority for policy making in the OECD.
Do democracies promote sustainable policies better than autocracies? Yes, argues our author: Despite the partial success of autocracies in some fields, investigations show an overall advantage for democratic states.
The future of the Eurozone is deeply entwined with the political and economic relations of France and Germany. Yet while the Franco-German consensus is essential, it remains elusive.
While the leaders of the BRICS demand leeway on environmental protection, their people favour conservation. Environmental diplomacy remains a key tool for the emerging economies to impact global governance.
Guy Berger, Director of the Division for Freedom of Expression and Media Development of UNESCO, about the role of media and education for sustainable governance in South Africa.
In Turkey, the need for reform is large – as is the country’s capacity to implement these reforms. So, how effectively does governance in Turkey serve the needs of present and future generations?
On environmental issues, cyberactivists in Russia are filling the void of state indifference and failure. Russian civil society is getting stronger, writes FutureChallenges blogger Masha Egupova.
In China, social media and blogs are essential for dealing with state censorship and control. But the official media is changing too, writes FutureChallenges blogger Dandan Wang.
In India, true sustainable governance can only come from an informed and educated electorate, reports FutureChallenges blogger Ajinkya Pawar.
History, politics and a lot of anger: FutureChallenges blogger Jan Hofmeyr analyses South Africa's education crisis and argues that skills development is vital for the country’s sustainable governance.
FutureChallenges blogger Elis Dos Anjos looks at education policy in Brazil and finds that success at school still largly depends on students' social and economic background.
SGI's new study “Sustainable Governance in the BRICS - Initial Findings” examines policy making in Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. Five bloggers from FutureChallenges to tell us what they think about it.
In the European salons of the 1920s, the intellectual avant-garde developed basic ideas that would inspire public opinion and political processes. Today, the Facebook community Salon Virtuel is carrying this idea to the internet.
Three traditional poles of the capitalist global economy – Japan, Europe and the U.S. – seem to compete for the largest public debt. Who’s the most fiscally irresponsible, and why?
Chile – the world's largest copper producer – is one of the economically most unequal countries in the OECD. Mining governance remains essential to abate social tensions and avert an energy crisis.
Annette Heuser, Director of the Bertelsmann Foundation North America, and Daniel Schraad-Tischler, SGI Project Manager, discuss INCRA – a new international non-profit credit rating agency.
In Greece, the crisis is leading to an ever increasing chasm between rich and poor. The austerity measures imposed by the EU are also contributing to growing social injustice. How much saving can the country cope with?
The magazine Der Spiegel recently singled out the Sustainable Governance Indicators as „the most ambitious experiment in comparative politics since Aristotle’s time“, Adrian Steinert from SGI Team reports.
Western dominance of global financial and political institutions is about to end if the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) have anything to do with it. Their fortunes will certainly affect the world economy.
While people rely less and less on traditional media data blogs serve as a new guide through the information jungle. Craig J. Willy presents some of the most influential data blogs today.
The SGI project measures and compares the policy success of states. A comparison of press freedom in Hungary and Germany shows how it works.
The Sustainable Governance Indicators examine the political challenges of the 21st century. SGI News spoke with Daniel Schraad-Tischler and Najim Azahaf from SGI about the project and the latest developments.
In search of an effective multinational strategy to combat global warming many people are looking towards Europe. The old continent can’t provide a universal model but certainly inspiration for successful climate policy.
Antonia Sohns of the Worldwatch Institute discusses initiatives in the wake of the Rio+20 conference: Good governance is key to successful climate negotiations.