About us

Our Team & Governance

Board of Trustees

Etienne Davignon
Etienne Davignon

President of Friends of Europe, Belgian Minister of State and former European commission vice-president

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Etienne (Stevy) Davignon is one of the few statesmen in Europe who has been actively involved in EU affairs from the beginning, from his early role as Chief of Staff to Paul-Henri Spaak to today. He has held high-level positions in both the public and private sectors, including as Vice-President of the European Commission, President of the Société Générale de Belgique, first President of the International Energy Agency and through various board mandates.

Giles Merritt
Giles Merritt

Founder of Friends of Europe

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Giles Merritt is the Founder of Friends of Europe, and was its Secretary General between 1999 and 2015, and its Chairman between 2016 and 2020.

A former Financial Times Brussels Correspondent, Giles Merritt is a journalist, author and broadcaster who has for over four decades specialised in European public policy questions. In 2010 he was named by the Financial Times as one of its 30 most influential “Eurostars”, together with the European Commission’s President and NATO’s Secretary General.

Giles Merritt joined the Financial Times in 1968, and from 1972 until 1983 he was successively FT correspondent in Paris, Dublin/Belfast, and Brussels. From 1984 to 2010 he was a columnist for the International Herald Tribune (IHT), where his Op-Ed page articles ranged widely across EU political and economic issues.

In 1982 he published “World Out of Work”, an award-winning study of unemployment in industrialised countries. In 1991, his second book “The Challenge of Freedom” about the difficulties facing post-communist Eastern Europe was published in four languages. His book “Slippery Slope: Europe’s Troubled Future” (Oxford University Press 2016), was shortlisted for the European Book Prize.

Photo of Alberto Alemanno
Alberto Alemanno

Jean Monnet Professor in EU Law at HEC Paris, Founder of The Good Lobby, Trustee of Friends of Europe and 2014 European Young Leader (EYL40)

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Alberto Alemanno is a leading voice on the democratization of the European Union. He’s currently the Jean Monnet Professor in EU Law at HEC Paris and visiting professor at the College of Europe in Bruges and at the University of Tokyo School of Public Policy. His research has been centred on how the law may be used to improve people’s lives, in particular through the adoption of power-shifting reforms countering social, economic, and political inequalities within European societies and beyond. He is a regular contributor to Le Monde, Bloomberg, Politico Europe, Forbes, and Il Sole 24 Ore, and his scholarly work has been featured in The Economist, The New York Times, The Financial Times, as well as Science and Nature.

Photo of Joaquín Almunia
Joaquín Almunia

Visiting Professor at the London School of Economics and PSIA-Sciences Po Paris, former vice-president of the European Commission and Trustee of Friends of Europe

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Joaquín Almunia is an experienced politician, who is currently a Visiting Professor at LSE and Sciences Po Paris. As the commissioner responsible for competition policy at the European Commission, he led efforts to control the state aid granted to banks during crisis and to ensure fair competition between businesses and companies. Prior to that, Almunia was responsible for economic and monetary affairs during Barroso’s first mandate as European Commission president.

baroness valerie amos
Baroness Valerie Amos

Master of University College Oxford and Trustee of Friends of Europe

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Throughout her career, Baroness Valerie Amos consistently sustained an interest in, and commitment to, issues of equality and social justice. In 1997, she was appointed a Labour life peer and was the first black woman to serve in a British Cabinet as Secretary of State for International Development. She went on to become Leader of the House of Lords. In addition to her career at local and national level in the UK, she served as Under Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs at the United Nations. She was also UK High Commissioner to Australia and worked extensively in South Africa.

Photo of László Andor
László Andor

Secretary-General of the Foundation for European Progressive Studies (FEPS), former European commissioner for employment, social affairs and inclusion, and Trustee of Friends of Europe

Show more information on László Andor
Photo of Michel Barnier
Michel Barnier

Former European commission head of the task force for relations with the United Kingdom, former European commissioner for internal market and services, former French minister, and Trustee of Friends of Europe

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Xavier Bettel
Xavier Bettel

Deputy Prime Minister of Luxembourg, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Minister for Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Affairs, and Trustee of Friends of Europe

Show more information on Xavier Bettel
Photo of Carl Bildt
Carl Bildt

Co-Chair of the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR), former Swedish minister for foreign affairs, former Swedish prime minister and and Trustee of Friends of Europe

Show more information on Carl Bildt
Franziska Katharina Brantner
Franziska Brantner

German Parliamentary State Secretary for Economic Affairs and Climate Action, Trustee of Friends of Europe and 2012 European Young Leader (EYL40)

Show more information on Franziska Brantner

Franziska Brantner is a German politician, who currently serves as Parliamentary State Secretary for Economic Affairs and Climate Action. She is also the ministry’s Special Coordinator for the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative. Prior to this, Brantner was a member of the Bundestag and a member of the European Parliament, where her work focused on foreign affairs, conflict resolution and rapid crisis response. She also conducted negotiations on the reform of the European External Action Service. Before entering politics, Brantner worked for the Bertelsmann Foundation and the UN Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM).

Photo of Geert Cami
Geert Cami

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

Show more information on Geert Cami

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.

Dacian Ciolos
Dacian Cioloș

Member of the European Parliament, former Romanian prime minister, and former European commissioner for agriculture, and Trustee of Friends of Europe

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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.

Photo of Geert Cami
Geert Cami

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

Show more information on Geert Cami

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

Show more information on Mary Fitzgerald

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.

Photo of Nathalie Furrer
Nathalie Furrer

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

Show more information on Nathalie Furrer

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

Show more information on Dharmendra Kanani

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.

Photo of Adam Nyman
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.

Photo of Jamie Shea
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)

Show more information on Jamie Shea

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

Show more information on Valbona Zeneli

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

Photo of Geert Cami
Geert Cami

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

Show more information on Geert Cami

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

Show more information on Mary Fitzgerald

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.

Photo of Nathalie Furrer
Nathalie Furrer

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

Show more information on Nathalie Furrer

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

Show more information on Dharmendra Kanani

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.

Photo of Adam Nyman
Adam Nyman

Director of Citizen Outreach and Engagement at Friends of Europe

Show more information on Adam Nyman

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.

Photo of Jamie Shea
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)

Show more information on Jamie Shea

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

Show more information on Valbona Zeneli

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.

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

Show more information on Monica Frassoni

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.

Photo of Philippe Maze-Sencier
Philippe Maze-Sencier

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

Show more information on Philippe Maze-Sencier

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.

Photo of Jon Worth
Jon Worth

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

Show more information on Jon Worth

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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