Friends of Europe is a leading think tank that connects people, stimulates debate and triggers change to create a more inclusive, sustainable and forward-looking Europe.


Friends of Europe is an independent think tank with a difference – we believe innovation is a mindset, behaviour and action. We aim to be catalysts for change and believe that real solutions come from transforming mindsets through the confrontation of ideas and the breaking down of silos between politicians, businesses and civil society.

Believing that change is achieved through inclusive policies and action, we reach out to and work with a wide network of policymakers, international organisations, civil society representatives, business leaders, academics, the media and citizens across Europe and beyond.

We have no national or party political bias and ensure that all viewpoints are represented in our activities and publications.


We foster open, insightful and provocative debates to stimulate fresh ideas and creative thinking.

Our portfolio of events and reports means that Friends of Europe contributes ideas and leads the debate on a wide range of EU-related issues, including:

  • Energy and Climate
  • Asia, Africa and Emerging Economies
  • International Development
  • Migration and Integration
  • Citizens’ Europe
  • Health and Wellbeing
  • Peace, Security and Defence
  • Education and Skills
  • New Economic Models

Our European Young Leaders’ programme connects Europe’s young established talent from a wide range of disciplines. Our Board of Trustees brings together the knowledge and experience of European leaders who include Presidents, Prime Ministers, European Commissioners and Presidents of the European Parliament.

The Development Policy Forum (DPF), the Asia programme and the Europe-China Forum build bridges to foster global partnerships.

Europe’s World, our policy journal, is the only pan-European publication which offers a unique insight into the views of leading policymakers and opinion -makers on European and global challenges.

Our online platform Debating Europe encourages citizen-led debates with policymakers. In less than five years, it has built up a 1.6m-strong community of citizens across Europe and over 240,000 social media followers who put their questions to high-profile decision makers.


We offer Europe’s citizens an opportunity to take an active transformational role in shaping their environment. We use ground-breaking online brainstorms to bring different stakeholder groups together from all over the world and constantly innovate in how we convene and shape discussions. Through our debates, conferences, working groups, reports and recommendations we provide bold and ambitious but practical solutions for a more inclusive, sustainable and forward-looking Europe.

Friends of Europe in figures:

  • 5000+ senior participants and speakers
  • 60 events, 50 publications and over 200 op-eds every year
  • 2m unique visitors to its websites
  • 330,000-strong Facebook and Twitter community
  • 80,000+ database of contacts including senior decision-makers from the EU, national governments and international institutions, NGOs, think tanks, universities, business and the media


Friends of Europe occupies a special place in Brussels at the heart of the debate on Europe’s future.

In 1999 a new think-tank was born: former European Commission vice-president Etienne Davignon, Giles Merritt and Geert Cami joined together to form Friends of Europe, with a mission to support a reformed European Union.

The founders brought together a pan-European Board of Trustees and published a call for action in a ground-breaking report called ’A European Union that works: Blueprint for reform’.

At a time when the think-tank scene was very Anglo-Saxon, Friends of Europe strove to offer a new pan-European, politically independent platform for fresh thinking and analysis. Since its creation, Friends of Europe has gone from strength to strength, winning an international reputation for lively and provocative debate on the major issues confronting Europe. Its analytical reports contribute significantly to the EU policymaking process.

Milestones in Friends of Europe’s development include ‘Hearing from Europe’ in 2003, the first ever 28-nation satellite TV debate on what became the Lisbon treaty, its annual ‘State of Europe’ conference with Europe’s leaders, our transatlantic satellite debates and a series of groundbreaking reports on topics as diverse as reform of the EU, its communications shortcomings, Europe’s social problems, Turkish membership, the nature of growth and the aftermath of the global financial crisis.

The last few years have seen an increase in our activities, publications and our team which now also includes visiting scholars and fellows from across the world.

We will continue to act as a central, independent think tank for policy reflection and debate where European and international policymakers can exchange innovative ideas and help craft fresh policies for a rapidly changing world.

In October 2014 we joined forces with the Security & Defence Agenda to develop our organisation, which now comprises a think-tank, the influential policy journal Europe’s World, and the online citizens’ debating platform Debating Europe.