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Greece improves score in Soft Power 30 Index Global Ranking 2018

Greece has improves its score score in the Soft Power 30 Index 2018, although it maintains the same position as in the previous years. The results of the fourth annual Soft Power 30 Index have been launched by Portland, the strategic communications consultancy, in partnership with the University of Southern California Center on Public Diplomacy.

This year, Greece’s score is particularly interesting due to the planned exit from the bailout, in addition to the proposed name deal with FYROM. Interestingly, Turkey has fallen out of the Top 30, this may be due to increased activity in the Aegean.

After an impressive leap from fifth to first place in 2017, France has slipped back to second in this year’s ranking, with only a marginally lower score than the UK.

Soft Power 30 Index combines both objective data across six categories (Government, Culture, Education, Global Engagement, Enterprise, and Digital) and international polling, providing a comprehensive framework for the analysis of soft power.

2018 Overview Greece

Greece scores 54.63

After rising two places in last year’s Soft Power 30 index, Greece maintains 23rd position just ahead of Poland, backed by a solid showing across most sub-indices. Its recovering economy continues to be the main story, and recovering it truly is. In June, the eurozone granted a raft of new debt relief measures to Greece. This effectively means that, as of 20 August 2018, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras can say that his country is again standing on its own two feet. That said, while the bailout is coming to an end, many have argued (the IMF included) that the problem of repayment has merely been pushed from the medium to the long-term. Greece’s other main problem is arguably a more positive one. Projected figures show the Hellenic Republic is set to welcome a record 32 million tourists in 2018, more than double the number who visited in 2010. No other European destination has seen a larger increase in visitors, although Greece’s aging infrastructure is already showing signs of creaking under the strain of such an influx. Tourism is undoubtedly the jewel of Greece’s economy, with its rich history and culture. But questions remain around the government’s ability to host the visiting hoards while keeping the locals happy. The exodus of Greek economic migrants has slowed in the past year, but talented people are still leaving in droves. There may still be a way to go before Greece’s recovery is given a more sustainable footing.


Greece’s strongest performance is in the polling, with respondents ranking the country on a par with Singapore (albeit for markedly differing reasons) and comfortably ahead of South American big-hitters Brazil and Argentina. International perceptions of Greece do seem to be recovering in parallel to its economy, proven by the surge in tourists eager to experience the country first-hand.


Contrary to expectations, Greece has dragged itself up two places from 30th in last year’s Enterprise sub-index, but its score remains dangerously low. The government must quickly demonstrate how it plans to boost business in a post-bailout world. Greece’s lowest score this year is in the Digital sub-index, falling a significant seven places. Digital diplomacy should not be overlooked by the government, particularly as relations with its powerful neighbour in the East continue to sour.

Portland Recommends

It is one of the world’s oldest established civilisations, and its historic landmarks are unrivalled, but Greece still lags in promoting itself to the world. A more creative approach to revealing its existing soft power assets would do wonders for Greece’s international standing, particularly if coupled with a strong pro-innovation and pro-business message that highlights the country’s accelerating road to recovery.

Greece’s Score details by sector and comparison with previous years here.

The Soft Power 30 is a ranking of the top 30 countries around the world (out of a full
data set of 60), based on a composite index that measures and compares the
resources that account for a country’s soft power. The ranking, that is published once a
year, was launched in 2015;

1. The index combines both objective data across six categories (Government, Culture,
Education, Global Engagement, Enterprise, and Digital) and international polling on
seven factors, providing a comprehensive framework for the comparative analysis of
soft power;
2. The Soft Power 30 methodology is marked out by three innovative elements that make
it the clearest picture to date of global soft power:
1. The index is the only study of soft power (or country brand/reputation) to
combine objective data (collected from a range of reputable sources) with
international polling data gathered from nationally representative sample
surveys in 25 different countries, which cover every major region of the world;
2. The index contains digital and digital diplomacy components, including
anonymised data from government-run Facebook pages, to create and collect
new metrics on countries’ ‘digital diplomacy’ networks;
3. 75 metrics in total are normalised according to the standard min-max method
used for composite index calculation. The normalised data is then used to
calculate a single score for each country that allows for an overall ranking of
countries by soft power resources.

Soft power is the ability to attract and co-opt, rather than by coercion (hard power), which is using force or giving money as a means of persuasion. Soft power is the ability to shape the preferences of others through appeal and attraction. A defining feature of soft power is that it is noncoercive; the currency of soft power is culture, political values, and foreign policies. Recently, the term has also been used in changing and influencing social and public opinion through relatively less transparent channels and lobbying through powerful political and non-political organizations.


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