About the European Council on Foreign Relations

The European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR) is the first pan-European think-tank. Launched in 2007, its objective is to conduct cutting-edge research, build coalitions for change, and promote informed debate on the development of coherent, effective and values-based European foreign policy. ECFR has developed a strategy with three distinctive elements that define its activities:

  • A pan-European Council of over 280 members – politicians, decision makers, thinkers and business people from the EU’s member states and candidate countries – which meets once a year. Through regular geographical and thematic task forces, members provide the  ECFR team with advice and feedback on policy ideas and help with ECFR’s activities in their own countries.
  • A unique network structure with physical presence in Berlin, Brussels, London, Madrid, Paris, Rome, Sofia and Warsaw,allowing the organisation to channel the opinions and perspectives of a wide range of EU member states. Our pan-European network puts us at the centre of policy debates in European capitals, and provides a platform for research, debate, advocacy and communications.
  • Developing contagious ideas that get people talking. ECFR has brought together a team of distinguished researchers and practitioners to carry out innovative research and policy development projects with a pan-European focus. ECFR produces original research; publishes policy reports; hosts private meetings, public debates, and “friends of ECFR” gatherings in EU capitals; and reaches out to strategic media outlets.

Inspired by the role American think-tanks played in helping the US move from isolationism to global leadership, ECFR’s founders set about creating a pan-European institution that could combine establishment credibility with intellectual insurgency. Today, it has over 60 staff from more than 25 countries, and receives funding from a wide range of charitable foundations, national governments, companies and private individuals.

  • Mark Leonard


    Mark Leonard is co-founder and Director of ECFR. He is author of two best-selling books - “Why Europe will run the 21st Century” and “What does China think?” – which have been published in over 20 languages. Mark has spent time in Washington and Beijing and was honoured as a ‘Young Global Leader’ of the World Economic Forum. He writes a regular syndicated column on global issues for Reuters and his essays appear regularly in publications including The Financial Times, Foreign Affairs, Le Monde, The New Statesman, The New York Times, Süddeutsche Zeitung, El País, Gazeta Wyborcza, and the Washington Post.

  • Alison Wallace

    Chief Executive

    Alison Wallace is Chief Executive of ECFR. Alison has many years organisational leadership and development experience in a wide variety of advocacy and campaigning groups and a particular expertise in fundraising and communications. Her most recent role prior to joining ECFR was as Chief Executive of disaster response organisation ShelterBox, whose operations included responses to Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines and the devastating earthquakes in Nepal. Prior to ShelterBox, Alison worked at the International Secretariat of Amnesty International as Director of International Fundraising as well as holding senior roles at Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace. Alison holds degrees in law and business as well as a Masters degree in the politics of globalisation.

Board of Trustees
ECFR's Board members are: Carl Bildt (co-chair), Emma Bonino (co-chair), Ian Clarkson, Timothy Garton Ash, Lykke Friis, Sylvie KauffmannIvan Krastev, Mabel van Oranje (co-chair), Andrew Puddephatt, Norbert RöttgenJavier Solana

Carl Bildt (ECFR co-chair)

Former Prime Minister and Former Foreign Minister of Sweden

Carl Bildt has served as both Prime Minister (1991-1994) and Foreign Minister (2006-2014) of Sweden. During the first period his government initiated major liberal economic reforms, as well as negotiated and signed membership agreement with the European Union. The reform period in the early and mid-1990s is generally seen as having pave the way for the successful growth decades that followed. Subsequently he served in international functions with the EU and UN, primarily related to the conflicts in the Balkans. He was co-chairman of the Dayton peace talks on Bosnia and became the first High Representative to the country. Later, he was the Special Envoy of UN Secretary General Kofi Annan to the region. Returning as Foreign Minister of Sweden in 2006, he come to be seen as one of the most prominent and vocal of European foreign ministers during those years.

Emma Bonino (ECFR co-chair)

Former Foreign Minister and Former Minister for International Trade and European Affairs of Italy

Emma Bonino is a former Italian Foreign Minister. She also served as Vice President of the Senate (2008-13) and as Minister for International Trade and European Affairs (2006-08). She was a member of the Italian or European Parliament continuously since 1976, except when serving as European Commissioner for humanitarian aid, fisheries, and consumer policy (1995-99). A former Chief Observer of the EU electoral missions in Ecuador and Afghanistan, she was nominated ‘European Personality of the Year’ in 1996. During her career, she has conducted several international human rights campaigns, among the most successful – on the legalisation of abortion, the ‘Stop FGM’ campaign to ban Female Genital Mutilation, and for the establishment of the International Criminal Court.

Ian Clarkson

Founder of Celerant Consulting

Ian Clarkson founded Celerant Consulting in 1987 and sold it in 2012 to Hitachi of Japan. When Celerant was sold it was one of the 10 largest operational consultancies in the world with a global footprint, 600 full-time employees and more than $140m of revenue. He is currently working on the education agenda in the UK combining strategy and practicality through the Chairmanship of Bright Field Consulting and participation as a director of 2 large Academy schools.

Timothy Garton Ash

Professor of European Studies, Oxford University

Timothy Garton Ash is a historian and political writer whose works have charted the transformation of Europe over the last forty years. He writes a weekly column in the Guardian, which is widely syndicated in Europe, Asia and the Americas, and is a regular contributor to the New York Review of Books. He is the author of several books including, most recently, Facts are Subversive.

Lykke Friis

Prorector for Education at the University of Copenhagen

Lykke Friis, PhD, is Prorector for Education at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark. She is former Minister of Climate and Energy and also Minister for Gender Equality. She has published extensively on matters of the EU, European politics and foreign policy and she is frequently used as an expert analyst by Danish TV.

Lykke Friis has held close to twenty honorary offices, including Member of the EU Reflection group appointed by the European Council. She presently serves on the International Crisis Group and the European Council of Foreign Relations as well as on the boards of three major Danish companies: The Velux Group, Vestas Wind Systems A/S, and The Rockwool Foundation. Moreover, she is member of the Trilateral Commission and is chairman of the Danish Foreign Policy Society.

Sylvie Kauffmann

Editorial Director, leader writer and columnist, Le Monde

Sylvie Kauffmann is editorial director, leader writer and columnist at Le Monde, writing a weekly column on global affairs. She is also a contributing writer at the International New York Times. She was Editor in Chief of Le Monde from 2010-11 including during the Wikileaks collaboration with El País, The Guardian and the New York Times. She has worked at Le Monde since 1988 and has reported from the US, Eastern Europe and Asia, where she covered, among others, the collapse of the Soviet empire as well as the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks.

Ivan Krastev

Chairman of the Centre for Liberal Strategies

Ivan Krastev is the chairman of the Centre for Liberal Strategies, Sofia, and permanent fellow at the IWM Institute of Human Sciences in Vienna. He is a founding board member of the European Council on Foreign Relations.  He is an associate editor of Europe's World and a member of the editorial boards of the Journal of Democracy and journal Transit – Europäische Revue.  His latest books in English are The Anti-American Century , co-editors with Alan McPherson, (CEU Press, 2007) and Shifting Obsessions: Three Essays on the Politics of Anticorruption (CEU Press, 2004). He is a co-author with Steven Holmes of a forthcoming book on Russian politics.

Mabel van Oranje (ECFR co-chair)

Chair of Girls Not Brides – The Global Partnership to End Child Marriage

A global advocate on peace and justice issues for almost two decades, Mabel van Oranje is Chair of Girls Not Brides – The Global Partnership to End Child Marriage. In 1993 Mabel founded the European Action Council for Peace in the Balkans and was its CEO until 1997. She also co-founded the Dutch foundation War Child in 1995 and served on its board until 1999. In 1997, she joined the Open Society Institute in Brussels as Executive Director, becoming OSI’s International Advocacy Director in 2003. From 2008 until 2012, she was the first CEO of The Elders. Mabel holds masters degrees in Economics and Political Science (cum laude) from the University of Amsterdam. She helped found the global NGO coalition Publish What You Pay and was actively engaged in global efforts that led to the establishment of the International Criminal Court in 2002.

Andrew Puddephatt

Director, Global Partners and Associates

Andrew Puddephatt is Director of Global Partners and Associates, an organization that promotes good governance, democracy and human rights.  He chairs the Danish based organisation International Media Support and is Deputy Chair of the Sigrid Rausing Trust. An expert advisor to UNESCO and UNDP he was awarded an OBE for services to human rights in 2003.

Norbert Röttgen

Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Bundestag

Dr Norbert Röttgen is the chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Bundestag. Dr Röttgen served as the German Federal Minister for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety from October 2009 to May 2012. He has been a member of the Bundestag since 1994. During this time he has held a number of key functions within the Christian Democratic Party (CDU) and the German federal government. In 2009, he published "Deutschlands beste Jahre kommen noch". Dr Röttgen holds a PhD in Law from Bonn University.

Javier Solana

Former EU High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy & Secretary-General of the Council of the EU; former Secretary General of NATO

Javier Solana is president of ESADE Center for Global Economy and Geopolitics (Barcelona-Madrid). He is also distinguished senior fellow in Foreign Policy at Brookings Institution, Fisher Family Fellow at Harvard Kennedy School, chairman of the Aspen Institute España, honorary president of the Centre for Human Dialogue (Geneva), member of the board of the International Crisis Group, the European Council on Foreign Relations, and Human Rights Watch, as well as senior visiting professor at the London School of Economics, where he was awarded an Honorary Degree in December 2010.

Martti Ahtisaari (ECFR Emeritus Chair)

Chairman of the Board and Founder, Crisis Management Initiative; Former President of Finland

Martti Ahtisaari was elected President of Finland in 1994. Upon leaving office in 2000, he founded the Crisis Management Initiative. A UN diplomat and mediator, Martti Ahtisaari is noted for his international peace work in Namibia, Indonesia, Iraq, Central Asia, Kosovo and Northern Ireland, among other areas. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in October 2008, "for his important efforts to resolve international conflicts”.