European Council on Foreign Relations

About the European Council on Foreign Relations

The European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR) is the first pan-European think-tank. Launched in October 2007, its objective is to conduct research and promote informed debate across Europe on the development of coherent and effective European values-based foreign policy. It is independent and has no connection to the institutions of the EU. See below for information about its various sources of funding.

ECFR has developed a strategy with three distinctive elements that define its activities: 

  • A pan-European Council. ECFR has brought together a distinguished Council of over one hundred Members - politicians, decision makers, thinkers and business people from the EU's member states and candidate countries - which meets once a year as a full body. Through geographical and thematic task forces, members provide ECFR staff with advice and feedback on policy ideas and help with ECFR's activities within their own countries. The Council is chaired by Martti Ahtisaari, Joschka Fischer and Mabel van Oranje.

  • A physical presence in the main EU member states. ECFR, uniquely among European think-tanks, has offices in Berlin, London, Madrid, Paris, Rome, Sofia and Warsaw. Our offices are platforms for research, debate, advocacy and communications.

  • A distinctive research and policy development process. ECFR has brought together a team of distinguished researchers and practitioners from all over Europe to advance its objectives through innovative projects with a pan-European focus. ECFR's activities include primary research, publication of policy reports, private meetings and public debates, ‘friends of ECFR' gatherings in EU capitals and outreach to strategic media outlets.

ECFR's publications, along with the views expressed in podcasts, articles and blog posts, represent the views of its authors, not the collective position of ECFR or its Council Members. ECFR hopes to stimulate constructive debate about Europe's place in the world.

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For two years running (2008, 2009) ECFR was named the world's 'Best new think tank in the last 5 years' by the most comprehensive ranking of global think tanks, conducted by the University of Pennsylvania ('The Global "Go-To Think-Tanks"). In subsequent rankings (2011, 2012, 2013) ECFR was consistenty ranked in the top 10 of the "Top fifty think tanks worldwide". In 2013 ECFR was named one of the "top foreign policy and international affairs think tanks" (10th). In the same ranking ECFR was also among the think tanks with the "most innovative policy ideas/proposals" (9th). 

In 2010 ECFR won Prospect magazine's award for “best UK-based think tank of the year dealing with non-UK affairs”.

For more information, please explore the links below.

Council Members
Foreign policy experts
Research programmes
ECFR funders
Annual reports and financial accounts
Frequently Asked Questions 
Jobs and internships