Best Think-Tanks in Europe (Part III)

After a-couple-of-weeks break I am coming back to one of my favourite topics – think-tanks. As I could observe in WordPress stats, readers liked the idea of a guide through various European think-tanks that cover international affairs, security policy and global economic issues. Hope this new episode will be useful, too.

This series is inspired by the newest edition of the “Global Go To Think Tank Index Report” edited by Professor James G. McGann of the University of Pennsylvania. American think-tanks are easily recognised and globally-known. I am often asked, however, about European entities doing a similar and equally good/important job. Those listed in my guide should be the first ones to call. Here is the 3rd part of the guide (the 1st one is available here, the 2nd one here). Polish think-tanks will be presented broadly in a separate piece.


European Policy Centre (EPC) – one of the most acknowledged and recognised Brussels-based think-tanks devoted to fostering the European integration through expert analysis, debates and policy recommendations. It tackles the European integration, not in purely economic sense (like i.e. Bruegel), but prefers broad perspectives. Thus, the EPC covers also such issues as migration and diversity, EU in global affairs, as well as its institutional development and political dynamics. The EPC is also one of the key Brussels-based organisers of expert seminars, workshops and other public events of this kind. Herman Van Rompuy is the President of the EPC and its Advisory Council. The EPC cooperates in partnerships with DGAP (Germany), ELIAMEP (Greece), FIIA (Finland), ISPI (Italy) and WiseEuropa (Poland). Marta Zakrzewska from Poland works as a Programme Assistant in the EPC and covers security policy, Russia and EU-Ukraine relations.

EGMONT – the Royal Institute for International Relations, another Brussels-based think-tank, but reaching way beyond the EU affairs. EGMONT runs, for instance, a well-known programme on Africa, within which its experts delivered and extensive project “African Futures – Horizon 2025”. It also has a large branch devoted to teaching and training in the fields of civilian crisis management, diplomacy and foreign affairs, as well as public administration. It is located in the beautiful Egmont Palace, often hosting heads of state and governments (and other top-level officials) who give globally-listened-to speeches and lectures. EGMONT publishes its own “Studia Diplomatica” as well as analytical briefs, papers and commentaries.

Fondation pour la recherché stratégique (FRS) – one of leading French research institutes, established in 1992. It focuses particularly on security, defence and military oriented issues, their popularisation in the French expert and public debate, as well as making the French voice heard abroad (i.e. globally). It organises its own events, the FRS experts are invited frequently to the media. FRS experts tackle a wide range of issues linked with security, including health, food and environmental risks, as well as new threats to the cyber and space nature. Experts also focus on particular regions: Sub-Saharan Africa, Asia and the Pacific, MENA, Russia and Eurasia, as well as the transatlantic area and the Arctic region. As one of leading Europan think0tanks, the FRS is a member of several think-tanks networks and consortiums, including the Euro-Mediterranean Study Commission, the UNSC Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate and the EU Non-Proliferation Consortium.

GLOBSEC – with GLOBSEC we are finally reaching Central Europe and the Visegrad Group countries. This think-tank is based in Bratislava and is most known – globally! – from its annual, flagship event, the GLOBSEC Conference (soon: 17-19 May 2018) that gather security, defence and foreign relations experts from across the globe, especially from the transatlantic area. There are also other international events that this think-tank organises, including the Chateau Bela Forum, a closed, cameral event on key international relations developments. GLOBSEC underlines that through such events and its research it aims at fostering public-private international dialogue. GLOBSEC reaches beyond the security area and tackles also the future of Europe as well as strategic communication. Jakub Wiśniewski, former Poland’s PermRep to the OECD and foreign policy planner is the Vice President of GLOBSEC, Kacper Rękawek is the head of Defence and Security Programme, Kinga Brudzińska is the Senior Research Fellow and Institutional Funding Coordinator.

EUROPEUM Institute for European Policy – let’s stay longer in Central Europe and learn more about this Czech think-tank. EUROPEUM aims at fostering the research and expert debate on European integration and cohesion, as well as the engagement of the Czech Republic in the EU and European affairs. What is interesting, EUROPEUM has its HQ in Prague but also operates an office in Brussels. It is especially valuable due to EUROPEUM’s key role in the Think Visegrad platform – a cooperation body fostering cooperation among the Visegrad Group think-tanks working in a broad field of European affairs, popularising their ideas in the whole EU and particularly in its centre, financed by the International Visegrad Fund. EUROPEUM is also responsible for one of key annual Central Europe conferences on EU affairs titles “Prague European Summit” (soon: 19-21 June 2018).

CIDOB – Barcelona Centre for International Affairs, a think-tank with more than 40 years of tradition and experience. CIDOB runs territorial programs, like the ones devoted to Latin America, Asia and MENA (the Middle East and North Africa). It tackles problematic fields, too, my favourite is the one devoted to global cities (not very present in other European think-tanks, but certainly key for the future of international relations), and migration. Apart from its global insights, CIDOB operates also locally, cooperates with the local government bodies and analyses the issue of Catalonia’s independence aspirations. Agnieszka Nimark is an associated researcher at CIDOB, she examines especially global security governance.

European Union Institute for Security Studies (EUISS) – last but definitely not least! The EU’s own think-tank (or an analytical agency if we want to be precise) with an HQ in Paris and a liaison office in Brussels. It was established in 2002 thanks to the development of the Common Foreign and Security Policy that required deep analysis and good ideas that could foster a common security culture in the EU. The analysts of the EUISS cover naturally the EU neighbourhood understood in a broad sense (including, for instance, the Americas – but I especially loved their insights on Southern Caucasus back in the days of working on my MA thesis…), as well as particular topics such as cybersecurity or global governance that the EU wants to highly contribute to. the EUISS publications include, for instance, the well-acknowledged Chaillot Papers. The annual EUISS Conference gathers foreign and security experts and top officials from all over Europe. Patryk Pawlak is a cybersecurity expert at the Brussels office of the EUISS.

The think-tank series of articles includes also:

5 reasons why think-tanks are soft power tools

Best think-tanks in Europe (Part I)

Best think-tanks in Europe (Part II)

Best think-tanks in Poland (Part I)

Best think-tanks in Poland (Part II)


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