EU member states must finally make good on their pledge to spend 0.7% of gross national income on foreign aid as the world prepares to agree the development agenda for the next 15 years, a European commissioner has warned. Neven Mimica, the EU commissioner for international cooperation and development, said that honouring the commitment on official development assistance (ODA) would enhance Europe’s global standing and help pressure other countries into accepting their financial responsibilities.

Europe is launching a major diplomatic push for an ambitious deal on global warming, mobilising A-list celebrities and tens of thousands of diplomats to exert “maximum pressure” on key countries in international climate negotiations.

Five years after Haiti's devastating 2010 earthquake, many Haitians feel international efforts to help the country recover from the disaster failed to meet their goals, particularly local ownership of development gains. One of these critics is journalist and public relations consultant Gotson Pierre, whose advice to the global development community is precisely to “go local” and involve the population in all aid programs.

Ireland’s foreign service is relatively small, with 80 representations, and comparatively thinly spread, with an average of one to two people in each post. But it is talented, flexible and normally led by generalists well able to represent the State in a great variety of international settings.

The ongoing transformation of Hungary’s foreign policy aimed at enforcing the country’s economic interests more effectively has reached the halfway point, Péter Szijjártó, the minister of foreign affairs and trade, said in an interview to MTI. (...) The government has already carried out the biggest change, namely integrating the institutions overseeing external economic relations and cultural diplomacy into the foreign ministry’s structure, he said. 

The idea of Russian “soft power” became fashionable, but it was very different to European “soft power”. So-called Russian soft power was just “softer power”, including any means of coercion not involving tanks. It was, in the English phrase, “softly-softly” power, or “covert power”, the type of behind-the-scenes influence encapsulated in the Russian phrase kuluarna polityka – politics in corridors, not just away from public influence, but without formal record.

December 11, 2014

Some of these emerging diplomatic trends seem to have the potential to solve real problems, but can they really guarantee results or are they diplomatic fads that will go out of style as soon as the diplomatic community is faced with more complex challenges?

The standoff between NATO and the European Union is one of the most debilitating and shortsighted disputes between the two organizations, whose headquarters are but a twenty-minute bus ride from each other in Brussels.