About us

Our Team & Governance

Board of Trustees

Photo of Pat Cox
Pat Cox

President of the Jean Monnet Foundation for Europe, former president of the European Parliament and Trustee of Friends of Europe

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Pat Cox is an Irish politician and former television current affairs presenter. During his political career, he served as a Member of the European Parliament for over fifteen years and also as President of the European Parliament. Among other achievements, he received the 2004 Charlemagne Prize for his efforts in the eastward expansion of the European Union. After his tenure as MEP, Cox became President of the European Movement International in Brussels until 2010 and currently serves as the President of the Jean Monnet Foundation for Europe in Lausanne.

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Daniel Dăianu

President of the Romanian Fiscal Council, former member of the European Parliament, former Romanian finance minister and Trustee of Friends of Europe

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Daniel Daianu has held various positions in the political and economic sphere and has authored several books on European and economic issues. A Romanian politician, author, professor of economics, he currently serves as Member of the Board of the National Bank of Romania. Formerly a Finance Minister of Romania, Daianu was the Chief Economist of the National Bank of Romania and later became Member of the European Parliament.

Miriam Dalli
Miriam Dalli

Maltese Minister for the Environment, Energy and Regeneration of the Grand Harbour, former member of the European Parliament, and Trustee of Friends of Europe

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Alexander De Croo
Alexander De Croo

Prime Minister of Belgium and Trustee of Friends of Europe

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Alexander de Croo is a Flemish liberal politician, economist and businessman who leads the Belgian government’s efforts to improve digital growth and development. Most notably, he initiated the establishment of an advisory board called “Digital Minds for Belgium”, made up of the country’s top ICT experts, and launched an ambitious action plan “Digital Belgium”, aimed at positioning the country as one of Europe’s top three digital member states. This digital revolution includes developing 1,000 new start-ups, creating 50,000 new jobs, and achieving an electronic government by 2020.

Jaap de Hoop Scheffer
Jaap de Hoop Scheffer

Chair of Clingendael Institute, Dutch Minister of State, former NATO secretary general, former Dutch foreign minister, and Trustee of Friends of Europe

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Jaap de Hoop Scheffer is a Dutch politician who notably served as the 11th Secretary-General of NATO. He also previously worked for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Dutch delegation of the NATO headquarters in Brussels. He now works as President of the Advisory Council on International Affairs (AIV) of the Netherlands, an independent body which advises government and parliament on foreign policy. Furthermore, he was appointed to the Pieter Kooijmans Chair for Peace, Law and Security at Leiden University.

desutter
Petra De Sutter

Belgian Deputy Prime Minister, former head of the Department of Reproductive Medicine at Ghent University Hospital (UZ Gent)

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Petra De Sutter’s work currently focuses on mainstreaming the green agenda within wider Belgian federal government policy, and the challenges of digitalisation and sustainability. Committed to a socially equitable Europe, she strives to improve the rights and protections of refugees and the LGBTQI+ community. De Sutter has championed women’s sexual and reproductive health and rights, and tackled bio-ethical questions, including surrogacy and commercial egg donation, in the Belgian Senate and the Council of Europe. As a member of the European Parliament, she was the first green chair of the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection (IMCO). Prior to entering politics, she was a gynaecologist and fertility expert.

Ciaran Devane
Sir Ciarán Devane

Executive Director of the Centre for Trust, Peace and Social Relations and Associate Pro-Vice-Chancellor for International Relations at Coventry University, former chief executive at the British Council and Trustee of Friends of Europe

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Sir Ciarán Devane is the Director of the Centre for Trust, Peace and Social Relations at Coventry University. He also chairs the Irish health service and serves as a Trustee of the British-Irish Association. A chemical engineer by training, Devane held a 20-year career in industry and management consulting before becoming chief executive of Macmillan Cancer Support and subsequently chief executive of the British Council. Notably knighted for services to cancer patients he has served on the boards of NHS England and Social Finance Limited.

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Anna Diamantopoulou

President of the Athens-based think tank DIKTIO, former European commissioner for employment, social affairs and equal opportunities, former Greek minister for education and development, and Trustee of Friends of Europe

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Mikołaj Dowgielewicz
Mikołaj Dowgielewicz

Deputy Secretary-General of the European Investment Bank (EIB), former Polish secretary of state for European affairs and economic policy, and Trustee of Friends of Europe

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Sorin Ducaru
Sorin Ducaru

Director of the European Union Satellite Centre (SatCen), former assistant secretary-general for emerging security challenges at NATO and Trustee of Friends of Europe

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Sorin Ducaru is a Romanian diplomat with longstanding experience in transatlantic and international relations. His expertise lies in emerging security challenges and the impact of new technologies on security. He previously served as NATO’s assistant secretary-general for emerging security challenges and chaired the cyber defence committee, leading the alliance’s work on cyber policy development and implementation. Ducaru now chairs the Secretary-General’s Senior Advisory Board for the review of the NATO Headquarters. He is also a Senior Fellow at the Hudson Institute and a Special Advisor to the Global Commission on the Stability of Cyberspace, which works to develop norms and policies for the security and stability of cyberspace.

Isabelle Durant
Isabelle Durant

Former deputy secretary general of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), and former deputy prime minister of Belgium

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With a distinguished career in Belgian and European politics, Isabelle Durant has held the offices of Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Transport and Energy, and Senator in the Belgian Government. She also served as Vice-President of the European Parliament, President of the European Union Council of Ministers of Transport and as Deputy-Secretary General and Acting Secretary General of UNCTAD. With a wealth of experience collaborating with civil society and the private sector, her time as European Parliament Vice-President included responsibility for relations with civil society. Durant has held posts as a senior consultant on the empowerment of women in local government for the UNDP and as a member of Parliament of the Brussels-Capital Region in Belgium.

Tanja Fajon
Tanja Fajon

Slovenian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trustee of Friends of Europe

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A politician and journalist, Tanja Fajon is currently serving as Member of the European Parliament. A passionate advocate for freedom of movement and its economic benefits, Fajon previously served as the European Parliament rapporteur on the visa liberalisation process for the Western Balkans. In this position, she was instrumental in helping Albania as well as Bosnia and Herzegovina win the right to visa-free travel to Europe. In 2016, Slovenian opinion polls ranked her as one of the most popular political figures in the country.

Mary Fitzgerald
Mary Fitzgerald

Non-resident scholar at the Middle East Institute, and Senior Fellow for Peace, Security and Defence & Trustee of Friends of Europe

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Mary Fitzgerald is a researcher and analyst specialising in the Mediterranean region with a particular focus on Libya. She has consulted for a number of international organisations including in the areas of peacebuilding and civil society. She has worked with the International Crisis Group (ICG), the United States Institute of Peace (USIP) and the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR) among others. She is a Non-Resident Scholar at the Middle East Institute in Washington DC, an Associate Fellow at the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation, King’s College London and an Associate Fellow at ISPI in Milan. Mary has also worked on wider initiatives with UNESCO, the Anna Lindh Foundation, the British Council and other cultural organisations. Her writing has appeared in publications including Foreign Policy, The New Yorker, The Washington Post, Financial Times and The Guardian.

Monica Frassoni
Monica Frassoni

President of the European Alliance to Save Energy, former co-president of the European Green Party, former member of the European Parliament and Trustee of Friends of Europe

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Monica Frassoni is an Italian politician who previously served as the Co-President of the European Green Party. Prior to that, during her time as Member of the European Parliament, she was Co-Chair of the European Greens–European Free Alliance group in the European Parliament. She also served for ten years as an officer of the Greens group in the European Parliament and was Secretary-General of the Young European Federalists. In 2010, she co-founded the European Alliance to Save Energy, an organisation which aims to promote and advocate energy savings and a new energy model.

Strategic Leadership

Leila Alieva
Leila Alieva

Senior Fellow for Peace, Security and Defence at Friends of Europe, and Affiliate of Russian and East European Studies at the Oxford School of Global and Area Studies (OSGA)

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Leila is an Affiliate of Russian and East European Studies at OSGA, prior to which she was a senior common room member and academic visitor at St. Antony’s College, Oxford University. Originally from Azerbaijan, she founded and directed two think tanks in Baku and previously held fellowships at Harvard University, UC Berkeley, Kennan Institute, the NATO Defence College and IFK (Institut Für Kulturwissenschaften) Vienna. Her research and publications cover Azerbaijan, the Caucasus, Russia and the broader former Soviet Union, ranging thematically from energy security and conflicts, to democracy in oil-rich states, as well as issues around EU and NATO integration.

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Geert Cami

Co-Founder and Secretary General of Friends of Europe, and Co-Founder and Co-Secretary General of the Africa-Europe Foundation

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Geert Cami co-founded Friends of Europe, the action-oriented think tank, which in 2011 launched both its citizen’s platform, Debating Europe and its European Young Leaders Programme. In 2015, Friends of Europe integrated the Security and Defence agenda thinktank. As Secretary General, Geert mainly deals with the strategic development of Friends of Europe, coordinating the work of the high-level Boards involved in the governance of the organisation and chairing the Leadership meetings. He oversees both the financial health and the successful running of the organisation and its flagship initiatives and focuses on the expansion and the activation of Friends of Europe’s vast network of trustees, European young leaders and other senior political, corporate, media and societal contacts and partners throughout the world.

 In 2019, Geert founded TownHall Europe (the Davignon Centre for New Leadership) and in 2020, he co-founded the Africa-Europe Foundation (AEF) in partnership with the Mo Ibrahim Foundation (MIF).

 Geert headed the European conference organising, press relations and publishing company Forum Europe for more than ten years, and managed the revival of one of Belgium’s finest architectural examples of Art Nouveau, after creating La Maison de l’Europe in the prestigious 100-year-old Bibliothèque Solvay.

 At the outset of his career, Geert worked for a few years in the Humanitarian Office of the European Commission as a deputy in the newly set-up information and communications unit. His focus was mainly on raising the profile of the EU’s humanitarian efforts throughout the world, through publications and media initiatives such as exhibitions, television debates or Humanitarian Days in Member States.

 He also worked briefly as a teacher and TV journalist for two music programmes at Belgian public Radio 1.

Mary Fitzgerald
Mary Fitzgerald

Non-resident scholar at the Middle East Institute, and Senior Fellow for Peace, Security and Defence & Trustee of Friends of Europe

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Mary Fitzgerald is a researcher and analyst specialising in the Mediterranean region with a particular focus on Libya. She has consulted for a number of international organisations including in the areas of peacebuilding and civil society. She has worked with the International Crisis Group (ICG), the United States Institute of Peace (USIP) and the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR) among others. She is a Non-Resident Scholar at the Middle East Institute in Washington DC, an Associate Fellow at the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation, King’s College London and an Associate Fellow at ISPI in Milan. Mary has also worked on wider initiatives with UNESCO, the Anna Lindh Foundation, the British Council and other cultural organisations. Her writing has appeared in publications including Foreign Policy, The New Yorker, The Washington Post, Financial Times and The Guardian.

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Nathalie Furrer

Director of Climate, Energy & Sustainability, Health, European Young Leaders and State of Europe at Friends of Europe

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Nathalie Furrer is the Director of the Climate, Energy & Sustainability; Health; European Young Leaders (EYL40); and State of Europe programmes at Friends of Europe. Through her leadership, since 2002, the think tank has become the go-to place to connect, debate and change Europe. She founded its Africa, development, health, climate, energy and sustainability transition policy areas and launched its very successful European Young Leaders (EYL40) programme. She has been instrumental in developing a multi-stakeholder approach to the work of a think tank and in the organisation’s reach to the non-institutional sector. In her current role, she works with our talented team, members and partners. Prior to joining Friends of Europe, she worked at an institute for public policy research, organising international conferences throughout Europe.

Dharmendra Kanani
Dharmendra Kanani

Chief Operating Officer and Chief Spokesperson of Friends of Europe

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Prior to joining Friends of Europe, Dharmendra Kanani was director of policy at the European Foundation Centre (EFC). He was the England director at the Big Lottery Fund, the largest independent funder in the UK and fourth largest in the world. Dharmendra has held senior positions in the public and voluntary sectors and advisor to numerous ministerial policy initiatives across the UK.

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Adam Nyman

Director of Citizen Outreach and Engagement at Friends of Europe

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Adam is the Director of Citizen Outreach and Engagement at Friends of Europe. He is responsible for the online citizen-driven discussion platform Debating Europe, which he co-founded in 2011. He has extensive experience in digital media start-ups, including the launch of the Brussels-based newswire service EUPOLITIX.com, which he merged into The Parliament Magazine, where he was the Managing Director. Adam speaks fluent English and Italian.

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Jamie Shea

Senior Fellow for Peace, Security and Defence at Friends of Europe, and former Deputy Assistant Secretary General for Emerging Security Challenges at the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)

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Retiring from NATO in September 2018 after 38 years at the organisation, Jamie Shea has occupied a number of senior positions at NATO across a wide range of areas, including external relations, press and media, and policy planning. As NATO’s spokesperson, he was the face of the alliance during the Bosnia and Kosovo conflicts. He later worked as the director of policy planning in the private office of former secretary general Rasmussen during the preparation of NATO’s 2010 Strategic Concept. Shea is also a regular lecturer and conference speaker on NATO and European security affairs.

Valbona
Valbona Zeneli

Senior Fellow for Peace, Security and Defence at Friends of Europe, senior fellow at Europe Center and Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security, Atlantic Council of the United States

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Dr Valbona Zeneli currently holds the role of Senior Fellow for Peace, Security and Defence at Friends of Europe, and is a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council of the United States, with a dual affiliation at the Europe Center and the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security’s Transatlantic Security Initiative. From 2011 to 2023, she served as a Professor of National Security Studies and Chair of Strategic Engagements at the U.S. Department of Defense’s George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies. She is also a visiting scholar for 2023-2024 at the Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies at Harvard University and a visiting fellow at the Robert Schuman Centre (RSC) at the European University Institute in Florence, Italy. Dr Zeneli specialises in transatlantic relations, strategic competition, NATO, globalisation, European Union enlargement and the Western Balkans. In 2023, she won the Inspiration for Women Award.

Team

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Natasha Ibbotson

Head of Memberships and Partnerships at Friends of Europe

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Pronouns: she/her
Head of Memberships and Partnerships at Friends of Europe, Natasha is responsible for the implementation of several programmes, as well as relations with members and the development of partnership opportunities. She began her career working for a cultural organisation in Berlin before moving to Brussels to work for a grant-making fund and later an international trade association. She holds Master’s degrees in classical languages from the University of Oxford and European Union law from King’s College London.

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Kaoru Inoue

Partnership Manager at Friends of Europe

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Pronouns: she/her
Kaoru Inoue is the Partnership Manager at Friends of Europe responsible for membership and partnership development, as well as supporting the Secretary-General. With a background in operations and project management, she was previously the operations manager at the Africa-Europe Foundation and served as the director of a telecoms association advising on digitalisation and ESG policies. Kaoru obtained a BA in International Affairs from Northeastern University and a Master’s in International Affairs from the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies.

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Andi Pepa

Partnership and Administration Coordinator at Friends of Europe

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Andi is an experienced executive support specialist adept at providing comprehensive assistance to C-suite executives, particularly Chief Operating Officers. Skilled in managing diverse responsibilities encompassing database administration, IT support, online event coordination, media logistics and office management. Andi speaks fluent Albanian, French and English.

Transparency Board

Monica Frassoni
Monica Frassoni

President of the European Alliance to Save Energy, former co-president of the European Green Party, former member of the European Parliament and Trustee of Friends of Europe

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Monica Frassoni is an Italian politician who previously served as the Co-President of the European Green Party. Prior to that, during her time as Member of the European Parliament, she was Co-Chair of the European Greens–European Free Alliance group in the European Parliament. She also served for ten years as an officer of the Greens group in the European Parliament and was Secretary-General of the Young European Federalists. In 2010, she co-founded the European Alliance to Save Energy, an organisation which aims to promote and advocate energy savings and a new energy model.

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Philippe Maze-Sencier

President of Teneo France and former Chair of Global Public Affairs of Hill & Knowlton

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Prior to his current position at Teneo, Philippe Maze-Sencier served as Chair of Global Public Affairs of Hill & Knowlton Strategies (H+K) and Managing Director at McLarty Associates’ Brussels and Washington DC offices. He has been working at the nexus of policy, government relations and communications on transatlantic issues and oversaw operations in India, the Middle East and Africa in various sectors ranging from aerospace to energy to defence. Previously, Maze-Sencier held roles at the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva, and at the delegation of the European Commission in Washington DC.

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Jon Worth

Political Blogger and Campaigner, #CrossBorderRail Project and 2012 European Young Leader (EYL40)

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Jon is one the best-known political bloggers and commentators on all things EU politics and Brexit. His commentary on his blog (jonworth.eu) and Twitter account (@jonworth) are well known in Brussels and EU circles. His work around Brexit and especially his famous Brexit diagrams have been featured in international media, including The New York Times and ARD. Jon is a Visiting Lecturer on politics and online communication at the College of Europe in Bruges. He also leads workshops at the Graduate Institute in Geneva, the University of Maastricht and the Italian School of Public Administration in Rome. The Founder of Trains for Europe, a campaign that demands the European Union take action on the issues surrounding long distance rail travel in Europe, Jon is an experienced campaigner, having previously organised a number of online campaigns for United Kingdom politicians and the Atheist Bus Campaign.

Financials

Our revenue

In 2023 Friends of Europe’s funding revenue was € 4 191 525. This money was contributed through participation fees (“memberships”), institutional and governmental subsidies, contributions to costs of events, reports or other projects.

 


Types of revenue

  • Membership guarantees participation at all our debates, hard copies of our reports, 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 overall independence and balance of opinion contractually 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 contractually guaranteed by Friends of Europe.
  • Exceptional revenues (such as compensation of office rent, payment exchanges…)

 


Revenue breakdown

€ 4 191 525 broken down per source of funding as follows:

  • European and international institutions: € 720 837(17%)
  • Diplomatic missions, national, regional and local authorities: € 1 387 678 (33%)
  • Corporate sector (companies and trade associations): € 1 113 706 (27%)
  •  Private non-corporate (foundations and NGOs): € 668 809 (16%
  • Participation fees (“Membership”): € 296 501 (7%)
  • Other projects € 3 995 (0%)

 


Membership guarantees participation at all our debates, copies of our reports, and networking opportunities. Friends of Europe does not represent the interests of its members, who pay an annual ‘participation fee’ without any other prerogative or role in the governance of Friends of Europe.

Membership fees are among 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 copies of our major reports.

Basic annual membership fees are as follows:

  • NGOs: €550
  • SMEs, trade associations, chambers of commerce: €1,070
  • International organisations and diplomatic missions of G20 and European Economic Area (EEA) countries: €1,070
  • Diplomatic missions of non-G20/EEA countries: €860
  • Regional offices: €860
  • Foundations: €860
  • Corporations: €2,450

 


For project-related partnerships, Friends of Europe has opted from the beginning for 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 at an event or write for a report/publication.

Friends of Europe offers a platform to people from all backgrounds and opinion, including government and institution leaders, 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.

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.

It should be stressed that the objective of Friends of Europe’s activities is to foster discussion and debate among the EU’s leaders and citizens on the issues that shape their future and to debate and circulate useful ideas for a more forward-looking, inclusive and sustainable Europe, not to push any specific political or business interest.

 


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.

The Transparency and Independence Board helps define, refine and verify our credentials in terms of financial transparency and independence.

 


Fundraising guidelines

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.

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: “Editorial and intellectual independence and the balance of events/reports shall at all times remain exclusive responsibility of Friends of Europe.”

 


Fundraising objectives

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 beyond the “establishment” and the “Brussels bubble”, in an effort to inform people and fight political apathy and voter absenteeism. This is why we seek to expand paid partnerships across Europe and the world to extend our reach.

 


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.

The Transparency and Independence Board helps define, refine and verify our credentials in terms of financial transparency and independence.

As stated above, Friends of Europe welcomes as wide an 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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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 the production and sales of arms. As listed in SIPRI’s most recent annual report on arms producing, FOE defines “arms manufacturers” as any company having more than 50% of its sales coming from the production of arms. (FOE excludes companies only providing consultancy & IT services to intelligence agencies, armed forces or ministries of defence from this definition, such as BAH through whom FOE has received US government funding. SIPRI = Stockholm International Peace Research Institute).
  4. Climate change is an existential crisis and Friends of Europe is determined to play its part in facilitating the transition to a net-zero future. At the core of our work is the commitment to devise a Renewed Social Contract for Europe. As part of our strategic objective to bolster a green transformation, Friends of Europe will no longer pursue partnerships with oil producing companies and all companies active in the coal sector. A decision to work with a particular company is not permanent, as we accept that a company’s activities may change and evolve over time.
  5. Non-EU 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.
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