Joaquín Almunia is Visiting Professor at LSE and Sciences Po Paris and an experienced politician who was responsible for competition policy at the European Commission. From 2010 to 2014, he has led the efforts to control the state aid granted to banks during the crisis and ensure fair competition between businesses and companies. Prior to that, he was responsible for Economic and Monetary Affairs during European Commission President Barroso’s previous mandate.
László Andor is a Hungarian economist and politician. He currently holds the position of Head of Department of Economic Policy at Corvinus University in Budapest and is a Senior Fellow at the Hertie School of Governance in Berlin. He was also European Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion during José Manuel Barroso second term. Before his time as Commissioner, he was a Member of the Board of Directors of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), representing the Czech Republic, Croatia, Hungary and Slovakia.
Michel Barnier is a French politician with a particular expertise in security and defence policy. He currently serves as the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator. Previously, he was elected as Member of the European Parliament and the President of the French Delegation of the EPP. Afterwards, he worked as European Commissioner and then Vice-President of the European Commission in charge of Internal Market and Services.
Xavier Bettel is a Luxembourgish politician and lawyer who serves as the 24th Prime Minister of Luxembourg after succeeding Jean-Claude Juncker. Before becoming Prime Minister, he has held posts as Mayor of Luxembourg City, Member of the Chamber of Deputies and Member of the Luxembourg City communal council. Parallel to the beginnings of his political career, he has also practised as a lawyer, having studied, amongst others, Public and European Law.
A renowned international diplomat, Carl Bildt led the Swedish government that negotiated and signed Sweden’s accession to the EU and modernised its welfare system. He later served as Swedish Minister of Foreign Affairs and was one of the initiators of the EU’s Easter Partnership and of EU engagement in the Middle East. Most recently, he chaired the Global Commission on Internet Governance that produced original research and recommendations on topics such as cyber security, internet freedom and the dark web.
Joachim Bitterlich is a lawyer and former German diplomat. He was adviser to Helmut Kohl, first for European politics and then leading the Department for Foreign, Development and Security Policy at the Federal Chancellery. Throughout his diplomatic career, he served in Algeria, Spain and as the German Ambassador to NATO. With his extensive experience on China, Bitterlich is also Vice-President of the Comité France-Chine, Member of the China Advisory Council and was the first European to be invited to take part in the annual Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) in 2001. Currently, he works as a professor at ESCP Europe in Paris.
Franziska Katharina Brantner is a German politician. Since 2013, she has been Member of the German Parliament for the Green Party where she has served as Chairwoman of the parliamentary Sub-Committee for Civilian Crisis Prevention and as member of the Committee on Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth. Previously, she was a Member of the European Parliament where she worked, amongst others, on foreign affairs, security and defence issues. As such, she was member of the Peace and Security Commission of the Green national party and one of the authors of the party’s manifesto for the European election in 2009.
Elmar Brok has been a Member of the European Parliament since 1980, best known for his role as chairman of the European Parliament Committee on Foreign Affairs from 1999 to 2007. Brok has held many leadership positions in German and European politics. As a member of the Convention on the Constitution for Europe and in the Committee on Constitutional Affairs, Brok is widely credited with contributing crucially to the Constitution of the European Union. He is currently the President of the Union of European Federalists (UEF).
John Bruton is an Irish politician and former Taoiseach who played a pivotal role in developing Ireland’s relations with the European Union. During his tenure, Ireland held the Presidency of the European Union and was instrumental in finalising the Stability and Growth Pact. After a long career in Irish politics with several ministerial posts, he served as the Ambassador of the European Union to the United States and as Vice-President of the European People’s Party (EPP). He currently works as an Advisor to Fair Observer, a nonprofit media organisation.
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.
Robert Cox is a seasoned journalist and senior EU civil servant. After a start in journalism with the “The Economist” in London and later in central Africa, he embarked on a second career with the European Commission. A spell in policy and economics work and international negotiations in the development field was followed by appointment as Head of the European Commission’s Mission in Turkey. On return to Brussels he held senior policy and management posts with the Commission’s information services. After a detachment to Yugoslavia with the EC Monitoring Mission he served as Deputy Head of the new Humanitarian Office ECHO.
Enrique Barón Crespo is a Spanish politician, economist and lawyer. A Member of European Parliament for over twenty years, he served as President of the European Parliament and of the Socialist Group in the European Parliament. Additionally, he chaired the Foreign Affairs Committee and the International Trade Committee of the European Parliament. He is the author of numerous books on a range of global and European issues, which were translated in several other languages.
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.
Etienne 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.
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.
Geert Cami co-founded Friends of Europe in 1999 and now mainly deals with the strategic development (from concepts to fundraising and implementation) of our think-tank and its flagship projects. He also focuses on the expansion and the activation of our vast network of senior political, corporate, media and societal contacts throughout the world, and coordinates the work of the Boards involved in the governance of the organisation. Since its launch in February 2019, Geert also runs TownHall Europe, the Davignon Centre for New Leadership, next to the European Parliament in Brussels.
In the nineties, Geert worked for a few years in ECHO at the European Commission, where he helped create and develop the then newly set-up Information and Communications Unit. His focus was mainly on raising the profile of the EU’s humanitarian efforts throughout the world, managing the Information Budget and dealing with outreach through publications and media initiatives such as exhibitions, television debates or Humanitarian Days in Member States.
Geert also headed the European conference organising, press relations and publishing company Forum Europe for more than ten years. At the outset of his career, Geert worked for 2 music programmes at Belgian public Radio 1, and very briefly as a teacher and TV journalist.
Nathalie Furrer is the Director of Programmes & Operations at Friends of Europe. In this role she manages the experienced team and develops the overall programme of the think tank, liaises with members, partners and the press. She also coordinates all debates and publications, as well as other initiatives co-organised by Friends of Europe on subjects ranging from energy, EU-China relations and the financial market to Latin America and EU health strategy. Prior to joining Friends of Europe she was working in an institute for public policy research organising international conferences throughout Europe. Nathalie graduated in Political Science from the University of Geneva and has a Masters in Communication from the Sorbonne in Paris. In addition to her native French, she is fluent in English and Italian and has a good knowledge of German.
Shada Islam is responsible for policy oversight of Friends of Europe’s initiatives, activities and publications. She has special responsibility for issues related to the Future of Europe, Migration, the Asia Programme and the Development Policy Forum. Shada is Visiting Professor at the College of Europe (Natolin) where she teaches Asia-Europe relations and has been selected as a fellow by the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB). She has been named as one of twenty most influential women in Brussels by Politico. Shada is the former Europe correspondent for the Far Eastern Economic Review and has previously worked on Asian and Migration issues at the European Policy Centre. She is one of the authors of Friends of Europe’s much-read “Frankly Speaking” commentary and is sought after as a speaker, commentator, columnist and moderator at high-level European and global events. Shada also continues to write on EU foreign and security policy, EU-Asia relations and trade and development issues for leading Asian, European and international publications and academic journals.
Dharmendra Kanani has been in senior leadership roles in the Public and Voluntary sectors across the UK and Europe over a period of 26 years. In 2005, he was appointed as Director of Scotland of the Big Lottery Fund. Subsequently, from 2010 to 2014, Kanani was the England Director at the Big Lottery Fund, the largest independent funder in the UK. Since 2016, he has supported Friends of Europe’s strategic development across all its policy areas with a strong focus on Climate and Energy; Peace, Security and Defence as well as Digitalisation. Prior to this role, Kanani was the European Foundation Centre’s (EFC) first Fellow in July 2014.
Adam is the Director of Friends of Europe’s 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.
Angela is Head of Communications at Friends of Europe. She has over a decade of experience earned on both sides of the Atlantic in agencies, NGOs and associations. She holds an MA in European Studies from the University of British Columbia and a BA from Wellesley College. She is a native English and French speaker and dabbles in Spanish and German.
As General Manager, Martine runs the day-to-day business of Friends of Europe. She is responsible for People, Organisation, Communications and Administration and leads the Leadership/Management Team.
Before joining Friends of Europe, she held various leading positions in both the private and public sectors and around the world. She has more than 25 years of experience in leading organisations towards their future.She has a proven track record of leading and implementing change, driving business value from alignment, improving people processes and building a performance culture, managing large and complex projects, working and delivering results in multi-cultural environments, and implementing effective communication.
In her leisure time, Martine likes going to the theatre and cultural events. She enjoys travelling and spending time with family and friends and is fluent in Dutch, English, French, Spanish and German.
As Head of Data Management and Support, Julie ensures there is efficient and effective infrastructure for the management of Friends of Europe’s projects, networks and customer relations. She is also responsible for providing a CRM infrastructure that supports Friends of Europe’s business and projects. She holds a Master’s degree in Political Sciences from the Université Libre de Bruxelles and from the Institut d’Etudes Politiques Strasbourg, France. Julie speaks French and English fluently, intermediate German, and basic Dutch.
Nassim is a Programme and Data Management Executive. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in History and Political Sciences from the University of Rennes, and a Master’s degree in International Relations from the IEP of Rennes, France (Science Po’s Network). He has previously worked for an NGO providing social support for the migrants in France. Nassim speaks both French and English.
Patrick Janssens is Financial Director and Member of the Board of Friends of Europe. He is mainly responsible for bookkeeping, personal administration and all financial transactions.
Isabelle works as Senior Finance and Administration Manager at Friends of Europe. She has a long experience in the world of finance, as she previously worked in banks and international financial corporations. Isabelle speaks both French and English.
Catherine is Senior Personal Assistant to Geert Cami, Giles Merritt and Martine Vandeputte. She holds a Bachelor in accounting, an MA in Philosophy and a AESS teaching degree from the ULB university in Brussels. She is currently learning Dutch
Monica Frassoni is an Italian politician who currently surves 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. Previously she 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 and is the current President of the European Alliance to Save Energy an organisation which aims to promote and advocate energy savings and a new energy model.
Jon is a founding partner of techPolitics LLP, a London-based web campaigning and social media agency that has run online campaigns for well-known UK politicians such as Harriet Harman, Diane Abbott and Ken Livingstone. He is best known in the UK for his role running the Atheist Bus Campaign, an online fundraising campaign that emblazoned the slogan “There’s probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life” on 800 buses across the UK in 2009. This action prompted follow up campaigns in ten further countries. He is one of the founders of BloggingPortal.eu, an aggregator of blogs about the European Union, and is a prolific writer on EU affairs on his own blog (jonworth.eu) as well as on UK political blogs such as LabourList and Left Foot Forward. He is a visiting lecturer at Hertie School of Governance, Berlin, and the Graduate Institute of International Affairs, Geneva.
In 2018 Friends of Europe’s total revenue was €3,899,297. This money was contributed through participation fees (“memberships”), institutional and governmental subsidies, contributions to costs of events, reports or other projects, and exceptional revenues not linked to our annual work programme.
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…)
1. €3.765.491 broken down per source of funding as follows:
- European and international institutions: €770,509,65 (20%)
- Diplomatic missions, national, regional and local authorities: €1,735,283,50 (46%)
- Corporate sector (companies and trade associations): €617,165 (16%)
- Private non-corporate (foundations and NGOs): €211,521 (6%)
- Participation fees (“Membership”): €431,011,89 (11%)
2. €133.806 of exceptional revenues not linked to our annual work programme (for compensation of office rents, payment exchanges,…)
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.
Annual membership fees are as follows:
- NGOs: €525
- SMEs, trade associations, chambers of commerce: €998
- International organisations and diplomatic missions of G20 and European Economic Area (EEA) countries: €998
- Diplomatic missions of non-G20/EEA countries: €788
- Regional offices: €788
- Foundations: €788
- Corporations: €2,150
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, 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.
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.
For the latest declaration of the Transparency and Independence Board, click here
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.”
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.
For the latest declaration of the Transparency and Independence Board, click here.
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:
- 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 the production and sales of arms. As listed in SIPRI’s most recent annual report on arms producing, FOE defines “arms manufacturers” more strictly than SIPRI 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).
- 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.