About us

Our Team & Governance

Board of Trustees

Etienne Davignon
Etienne Davignon

Belgian Minister of State and former vice-president of the European Commission

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Etienne (Stevy) 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 and Chairman, Friends of Europe

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Giles Merritt founded Friends of Europe in 1999, and its policy journal Europe’s World in 2005. His career as a journalist spanned 15 years as a Financial Times foreign correspondent, the last five as Brussels Correspondent, and 25 years as a contributor of Op-Ed columns to the International Herald Tribune on European political and economic issues. In 2010 he was named by the Financial Times as one of 30 ‘Eurostars’ who most influence thinking on Europe’s future. His latest book is “Slippery Slope: Europe’s Troubled Future” (Oxford University Press, 2016).

Photo of Alberto Alemanno
Alberto Alemanno

Founder and Chairman of the Good Lobby, Jean Monnet Professor in EU Law at HEC Paris, Global Clinical Professor of Law at New York University School of Law and European Young Leader Alumnus

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Alberto is an academic, author and activist. He’s currently Jean Monnet Professor of EU Law at HEC Paris and Global Professor of Law at New York University School of Law. Committed to bridging the gap between academic research and policy action, Alberto pioneered innovative forms of civic engagement and campaigning in the EU transnational space via his civic start up The Good Lobby. His last book, ‘Lobbying for Change: Find Your Voice to Create a Better Society’ provides a timely analysis and guide to levelling the democratic playing field by empowering ordinary citizens to speak up and inform policy decisions at local, national and international level. A Harvard graduate, he’s a regular contributor to Le Monde, Bloomberg, Politico Europe, Forbes, and Il Sole 24 Ore, and his scholarly and public interest work has been featured in The Economist, The New York Times, the Financial Times as well Science and Nature.

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Joaquín Almunia

Visiting Professor at LSE and Sciences Po Paris and former vice-president of the European Commission

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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 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 first mandate.

Photo of Baroness Valerie Amos
Baroness Valerie Amos

Director of University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), Master of University College at Oxford University, former UN undersecretary general for humanitarian affairs and emergency relief coordinator and former leader of the UK's House of Lords

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Photo of László Andor
László Andor

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

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Photo of Michel Barnier
Michel Barnier

European Commission Head of the Task Force for Relations with the United Kingdom, and former European commissioner for internal market and services and former French minister of foreign affairs

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Photo of Carl Bildt
Carl Bildt

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

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Franziska Katharina Brantner
Franziska Katharina Brantner

Member of the German Bundestag, European Young Leader Alumna

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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 other topics, 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.

John Bruton
John Bruton

Advisor to Fair Observer and former prime minister of Ireland

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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 non-profit media organisation.

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Geert Cami

Co-Founder and Secretary-General at Friends of Europe

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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.

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Pat Cox

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

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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.

Management

Photo of Geert Cami
Geert Cami

Co-Founder and Secretary-General at Friends of Europe

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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.

Photo of Nathalie Furrer
Nathalie Furrer

Director of Programmes & Operations at Friends of Europe

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Nathalie Furrer is the Director of Programmes & Operations 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 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 in an institute for public policy research organising international conferences throughout Europe.

Dharmendra Kanani
Dharmendra Kanani

Director of Insights at 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 sector and advisor to numerous ministerial policy initiatives across the UK.

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Adam Nyman

Director of Debating Europe

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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.

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Angela Pauly

Head of Communications at Friends of Europe

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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.

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Martine Vandeputte

General Manager at Friends of Europe

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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.

Staff

Photo of Nassim Bounya
Nassim Bounya

Programme & Data Management Executive at Friends of Europe

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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.

Photo of Raphaël Danglade
Raphaël Danglade

Project Manager, Sustainable Agriculture / Sustainable Energy, Africa Europe Alliance

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Raphaël is Senior Project Manager for the Africa Europe Alliance, focusing on Sustainable Energy and Sustainable Agriculture. Previously, he managed the Climate, Energy and Sustainability policy area at Friends of Europe. Raphaël developed an acute interest in climate change and the low carbon economy after working for various think tanks, civil society organisations, private sector companies and NGOs with projects in Africa, Latin America and Europe. He holds a Bachelor in Geography from Royal Holloway, University of London, after which he completed an MSc in Climate Change and International Development at the University of East Anglia, UK. Raphaël speaks French and English.

Photo of Charlotte Dierkes
Charlotte Dierkes

Programme Assistant at Friends of Europe

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Charlotte is a Programme Assistant for the State of Europe and European Young Leaders programme. Prior to joining Friends of Europe, she gained experience at the European Parliament (Belgium), worked on issues of organised crime at InSight Crime (Colombia) and at the EU Delegation to the United Nations (USA), where she developed a particular interest for topics of Peace and Security and the Middle East. Charlotte holds a BA in European Studies from Maastricht University and a MSc in Global Crime, Justice and Security from the University of Edinburgh. She speaks German, English, Spanish and has a good knowledge of French.

Photo of Nathalie Furrer
Nathalie Furrer

Director of Programmes & Operations at Friends of Europe

Show more information on Nathalie Furrer

Nathalie Furrer is the Director of Programmes & Operations 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 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 in an institute for public policy research organising international conferences throughout Europe.

Photo of Alex O'Mahony
Alex O'Mahony

Programme Assistant at Friends of Europe

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Alex is a Programme Assistant with Friends of Europe’s Peace, Security and Defence team. She holds an MSc in Political Science with a specialisation in International Relations from the University of Amsterdam, where she wrote her thesis on gender-sensitive approaches to counterterrorism, using the case study of Nigeria and Boko Haram. Prior to this, she completed her undergraduate degree in Russian Studies and English Literature at the University of Edinburgh. Alex also worked as a research assistant for a policy-oriented research project on gender and disarmament. She speaks English, Russian, and basic German.

Photo of Chahaiya Pilkington
Chahaiya Pilkington

Project Manager, Digital Economy/Transport & Connectivity, Africa Europe Alliance

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Chahaiya is Project Manager for the Africa Europe Alliance, focusing on Digital Economy and Transport & Connectivity. Prior to this, she managed Friends of Europe’s two flagship initiatives: #EuropeMatters and the State of Europe Annual High-level Roundtable, gathering over 250 high-level stakeholders from Europe and beyond in a fast-paced and dynamic brainstorm on the future of Europe. Before joining Friends of Europe, she gained experience in communications, supporting the Government and Policy Support Unit at the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation in Rome. With an MA in Geopolitics, Territory and Security from King’s College London, she is specialised in counter-piracy practices in the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean, territorial disputes and has a special interest in intraregional politics in the Horn of Africa. A dual national of Italy and Australia, she is bilingual in English and Italian and has advanced knowledge of French.

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Augusta Ramaccioni

Programme Executive at Friends of Europe

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Augusta divides her work between two flagship initiatives, #EuropeMatters and the State of Europe annual roundtable, and represents Friends of Europe in the steering committee of the Brussels Binder. Prior to this, she was responsible for the Development Policy Forum and the EU-Africa high-level group. Before joining Friends of Europe, she worked for the Mexican Commission for Human Rights (Mexico) and Samvedna (India). Augusta holds an LL.M. in Human Rights from the University of Kent and speaks Italian, English, Spanish and French.

Amanda Rohde
Amanda Rohde

Senior Programme Manager at Friends of Europe

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Amanda Rohde manages the work of Friends of Europe’s Migration & Integration and Asia programmes. In addition to coordinating in-house publications and debates, she regularly speaks at conferences and authors articles on key developments in her areas of expertise. Prior to joining Friends of Europe in 2016, she worked in the Research Unit of International Crisis Group in Brussels – tracking conflicts across Africa and Asia – and as a teacher in South Korea. Amanda holds a Master of Advanced International Studies from the Diplomatic Academy of Vienna, where she focused her studies on conflict and crisis analysis, and a BA in linguistics from the University of Florida.

Photo of Elena Saenz Feehan
Elena Saenz Feehan

Programme Executive at Friends of Europe

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Elena is a Programme Executive at Friends of Europe’s Peace, Security and Defence team. She holds an MA in International Conflict studies from King’s College London University, and a BA in Political and Administration Sciences from Pompeu Fabra University, Barcelona. Prior to joining Friends of Europe, she worked at Peace Brigades International UK assisting in the protection of human rights defenders, organisations and communities at risk.

Julien Tate-Smith
Julien Tate-Smith

Programme Officer at Friends of Europe

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Julien is Programme Officer for the European Young Leaders’ programme and #EuropeMatters. He graduated with a Master’s degree in International Relations from Université Catholique de Louvain in Belgium and has aimed to specialise in EU intricacies by participating in, among other things, a European Council simulation discussing immigration. Being an avid green, his last position saw him outlining the opportunities and challenges linked to the spread of renewable thermal energy. He fluently speaks English and French and has a passion for badminton and public speaking.

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Patrick Vandewalle

Programme Executive at Friends of Europe

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Patrick is Programme Executive at Friends of Europe focusing on Peace, Security and Defense. Prior to joining Friends of Europe Patrick did an internship at the Center for International Security and Governance (CISG) at Bonn University. Furthermore, he was a delegate to several Model UN Conferences, such as Bonn (2014), New York (2015) and Riga (2016). Patrick holds a B.A. in Political Science and French from the University of Bonn, and a M.A. in European Studies, with a focus on International Relations and European Politics, from Maastricht University. His interests include international relations, counter-terrorism policies, security strategies and transatlantic relations. Patrick is fluent in German, English and French, and has intermediate skills in Spanish.

Transparency Board

Monica Frassoni
Monica Frassoni

Former co-president of the European Green Party and former member of the European Parliament

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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.

Photo of Jon Worth
Jon Worth

Blogger and independent consultant, 2012 European Young Leader

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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.

Financials

Our revenue

In 2019 Friends of Europe’s total revenue was €3,564,572.69. 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…)

 


Revenue breakdown

1. €3.564.572,69 broken down per source of funding as follows:

  • European and international institutions: €581,979 (16%)
  • Diplomatic missions, national, regional and local authorities: €1,638,906 (46%)
  • Corporate sector (companies and trade associations): €678,000 (19%)
  • Private non-corporate (foundations and NGOs): €264,915 (7%)
  • Participation fees (“Membership”): €395,024 (11%)
  • Other revenues: €5,749

 


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: €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

 


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

 


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.

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:

  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” 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).
  4. 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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