The breakdown per source of funding is as follows:
- European and international institutions: €224,606 (8,9%)
- Diplomatic missions, national, regional and local authorities: €658,640 (26,2%)
- Corporate sector (companies and trade associations): €711,228 (28,3%)
- Private non-corporate (foundations and NGOs): €374,809 (14,9%)
- Contributions from members: €547,686 (21,8%)
Membership guarantees participation at all our debates, hard copies of our reports, the right to suggest topics and finally, networking opportunities. Friends of Europe does not represent the interests of its members who in fact pay an annual “participation fee” without any other prerogative or role in the governance of Friends of Europe.
Membership fees are the lowest in Brussels so as to stimulate as wide and heterogeneous membership as possible. Memberships are not “personal”, so any person employed by a member organisation can attend our debates and receive hard copies of our major reports. NGOs pay €500 per year; SMEs, trade associations, chambers of commerce, international organisations and diplomatic missions of G20 and European Economic Area (EEA) countries pay €950. Diplomatic missions of non-G20/EEA countries, regional offices and foundations pay €750 a year, while corporations pay €2,050.
VIP members receive visibility in our reports and at our debates, and are invited to roundtable discussions for reduced audiences. Prices range between €1,750 (NGOs) and €6,850 (corporates).
For project-related partnerships (debates or reports), Friends of Europe has opted from the beginning for a transparent and open communication. All partners are systematically credited on the website and in our reports. Project-related partners receive two key advantages: visibility in the communications campaign surrounding a debate or a report, and an opportunity to speak out or write in them. Friends of Europe offers a platform to people from all backgrounds and opinion, including NGOs and lobbyists of all shapes and colours, but the editorial independence and the guaranteed balance of discussions are the exclusive responsibility of Friends of Europe, as contractually enshrined.
Friends of Europe itself does not push for or against particular policies and most certainly does not represent any interests. Friends of Europe is solely responsible for the intellectual balance and quality of any project: we write balanced reports or debate programmes, and bring in voices that disagree with one another. It is only by confronting ideas that Europe will find the best solutions for the challenges of our times.
For the full details of revenues coming from Friends of Europe’s membership/participation fees, click here.
For the full details of other revenues, click here.
For the full details on Friends of Europe’s registration to the Transparency Register please click here.
The Transparency and Independence Board helps define, refine and verify our credentials in terms of financial transparency and independence.
Financing is an essential part of any organisation’s existence, and Friends of Europe relies on it to be able to ensure the broadest possible platform for debate, reflection and analysis. To uphold our mission as an independent think tank, we adhere to the following basic principles of independence and transparency.
The various types of revenues can be described as follows:
- Structural/horizontal support for our work as an organisation aiming at stimulating debate and new thinking on global & European issues that span political, economic, social and environmental challenges, and a better understanding by a wider audience of the challenges facing Europe and its citizens. Structural partners can make suggestions into topics for the work programme, and they will be credited as structural partners, but without influence/interference on the actual putting together of reports & debates. So far, only the European Commission has provided such structural support in previous years.
- Membership guarantees participation at all our debates, hard copies of our reports, the right to make suggestions for topics and finally, networking opportunities. It goes without saying that Friends of Europe does not represent the interests of its members, most of whom in any case have competing or conflicting interests, and in that respect it is worthwhile stating that Friends of Europe members are paying an annual “participation fee” without any other prerogative or role in the governance of Friends of Europe.
- Project Sponsorship provides associated visibility linked to a specific project (such as a report or debate), and a possible speaking slot or op-ed contribution, with independence and balance of opinion guaranteed by Friends of Europe.
- Programme/Pillar Partnership offers visibility and input into our annual work programme for a specific pillar or programme, again with independence and balance of opinion guaranteed by Friends of Europe.
Inclusiveness: Friends of Europe’s main objective in fundraising is to finance the widest possible participation in high-quality debates and reports, combining the best available research, facts & figures. We aim to bring together all sides of a debate, and a spectrum of opinion that is as wide as possible. This includes conflicting political opinions, corporate as well as civil society and NGO voices, and a variety of specialists and media from throughout the world.
Communication: Friends of Europe’s activities are backed by our communications powerhouse to seek maximum exposure for its projects and therefore also for its authors, speakers and partners. That communication includes the publication and dissemination of articles and reports on our activities, available to our members and partners, the media and the general public. Adequate funding for this effort is highly important.
Reach: We aim to engage a wider audience in member states, in an effort to inform people and fight political apathy and voter absenteeism. This is why we seek to expand paid partnerships across Europe to extend our reach.
Friends of Europe does not represent any national, religious, political, corporate nor NGO point of view, and will welcome all sides of a debate to defend their points of view. However, Friends of Europe also stands for a basic set of values, and we will therefore not offer speaking slots or partnerships to political parties, governments or corporations that go against the basic values which the EU stands for, and that we as an organisation strongly adhere to. Those values are included in article 2 of the Treaty of the European Union:
“The Union is founded on the values of respect for human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights, including the rights of persons belonging to minorities. These values are common to the Member States in a society in which pluralism, non-discrimination, tolerance, justice, solidarity and equality between women and men prevail.”
Transparency: Friends of Europe openly credits all partners, and is transparent as to sources of its funding in relation to our various projects. We maintain open and direct visibility for all our partners.
Opposing views: Friends of Europe maintains partnerships with organisations and governments that clearly have opposing views. Offering a speaking slot to partners does not pose a problem in this respect, on condition that other relevant points of view are equally represented.
Editorial Independence: Friends of Europe remains at all times independent in its approach to any given policy issue. This principle is also legally enshrined in any contract with a partner: “FOE remains solely in charge editorially of its reports and programmes for debates. It remains independent and solely in charge of the editorial balance of any discussion.”
Independence and Transparency Board: To ensure the openness and independence of our organisation, Friends of Europe has created a panel of people from various walks of life to consider any potential issues. The board meets at least once a year in Brussels and whenever it is deemed useful.
As stated above, Friends of Europe welcomes an as wide array of opinions as possible, and we do not shy away from provocative exchanges between different stakeholders. However, we wish to clarify the following restrictions we have imposed on ourselves:
- Representatives from extremist parties which advocate racism, violence, or which have values that go against basic European values as delineated above, are not invited to write in our reports, to speak at our debates or to support our activities financially.
- In line with the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), a legally binding international treaty that aims to reduce the damaging health and economic impacts of tobacco consumption, Friends of Europe refrains from working with the tobacco industry.
- While arms manufacturers can become members of Friends of Europe, a few limitations do apply. Friends of Europe will not offer them a high profile as partners of projects, nor accept partnership money from them. As listed in SIPRI’s most recent annual report on arms producing and military services , we define “arms manufacturers” as any company having more than 50% of its sales coming from arms. (SIPRI = Stockholm International Peace Research Institute)
- Third countries are eligible partners in an effort to engage in fruitful discussions that may help in certain cases at sharing best practices, or improving democratic and human rights conditions, as long as our intellectual credibility or that of a project are not endangered.
Friends of Europe plays a highly important role as a driving global force for debate and new ideas. Fundraising through partnerships and projects is of vital importance to ensure the strongest possible impact, participation and reach of our activities. By upholding these principles of ethics, transparency and operating guidelines as we secure our funding, we are able to maintain our integrity and reputation as one of Europe’s leading independent think tanks.