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The Equilibrium Institute with the support of the Heinrich Böll Stiftung launched its new project on creating a City Diplomacy Index.

Currently, there is no system of indicators available that objectively measures how the leadership of European capitals are progressing to complete its goals in city diplomacy. Moreover, Budapest and other cities lack a monitoring system that highlights the next steps to be taken to become even more successful in city diplomacy.

Our goal is to create the City Diplomacy Index which will not only support Budapest and other European cities in implementing their diplomacy strategy but which can also show how cities can improve their international cooperation and what they should do to become more inclusive and more liveable for expats.

When evaluating the network of Budapest and other capitals of the region it is worth considering existing indexes that measure the quality of interstate relations, such as the European Foreign Policy Scorecard or its international variants. We will use these indexes as best practices when developing the methodology of the City Diplomacy Index.

The goal of our City Diplomacy Index project is to develop a methodology to measure the city diplomacy activities of Budapest both with quantitative and qualitative tools and compare the result of these activities with those of Vienna and other V4 capitals (Bratislava, Prague, and Warsaw).

When developing the City Diplomacy Index, we aim to create a methodology, which enables us to update the index annually, so from now on we will be able to present every year which city diplomacy areas show positive or negative trajectories.

Following the updates of the methodology based on the feedback of the first annual reports, our objective will be that not only Budapest, but other European cities start using our City Diplomacy Index. If this proposal succeeds, the City Diplomacy Index could also play an important part in sharing city diplomacy best practices among European cities.


Conclusively, the City Diplomacy Index answers three questions year by year for the leadership of Budapest and other European cities:

  1. How is the given capital city doing on the track of reaching its city diplomacy goals compared to the reference cities?
  2. Compared to the previous year, did the given capital city advance or did it suffer a setback en route to reaching its goals?
  3. What kind of tasks and on what subareas should a given capital city complete to improve its score? What are those policy best practices that cities can learn from each other?


First results of the project will be presented at the Budapest Forum this autumn.