Flags from different countries are stringed beside each other.

How fit for the future are the OECD and the EU countries?

Many OECD and EU states are recovering from the crisis. But in Southern Europe the social situation remains critical. Again Greece brings up the rear of the country comparison. These are the results of the new Bertelsmann Stiftung's "Sustainable Governance Indicators 2015" (SGI).  

Following the data of the new SGI editionthe Nordic states, Switzerland and Germany are the most successful countries with regard to sustainable policy outcomes. What is striking is the very good performance of Estonia, which ranks seventh in the Policy Performance Index, immediately succeeding Germany. The country’s sustainable budgetary policy and excellent education system are the main reasons for this good ranking. Likewise in the Governance Index, the northern European countries are far in the lead. Also New Zealand's system of government is characterized by high strategic capacity and long-term orientation.

Economically, many OECD and EU countries were able to recover somewhat during the survey period from May 2013 to November 2014. This also concerns the European crisis countries Spain, Portugal and Ireland, in which the structural reforms of recent years have shown some effects. In Greece, too, a slight improvement in some indicators was seen during the last period, but developments since the beginning of this year are not reflected in the new SGI results. Given its dramatic social and economic situation, Greece is again at the clear bottom of our country comparison. Other southern European crisis states, too, are still faced with enormous challenges and social dislocation as a result of the crisis.

Relatively strong deteriorations in sustainable governance can be observed in the case of Australia, which – like the United States – ranks only in the lower third of the Policy Performance Index. Looking at the quality of democracy, the continued deterioration in Hungary and Turkey is also worrying.

The SGI is a cross-national survey of 41 OECD and EU countries that analyzes each country’s future viability based on 140 quantitative and qualitative indicators. More than 100 renowned experts from around the globe contribute to this large-scale study. The SGI approach measures sustainable governance across three pillars:

-       The Policy Performance Index measures each country’s performance in sixteen individual policy areas along the three dimensions of sustainability (economic, social, and environmental policies).

-       The Democracy Index assesses how each country compares with regard to the quality of democracy and the rule of law.

-       Finally the Governance Index examines how well-developed reform and governance capacities are in the countries.