European Council on Foreign Relations
podcast banner

ECFR podcasts - experts and big names talking about Europe's place in the world - in English, Spanish, French, German and Italian.

Go to the podcasts page

Scorecard The Europe Question

Staff and Experts

Staff Profile: Nick Witney

ECFR Expert/Staff

Nick Witney joined ECFR first in Paris and now in London as a senior policy fellow after serving as the first chief executive of the European Defence Agency in Brussels.

Javier Solana chose Nick in January 2004 to lead the project team charged with developing the concept and blue-print for the agency. Following the approval by the European Council of the team's proposals in July 2004 (an achievement recognised by the European Voice in nominating Nick one of its 50 "Europeans of the Year"), he was appointed to establish and run the agency for its first three years.

Nick's previous career, after reading Classics at Corpus Christi College, Oxford, was spent in British government service, first with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and later with the Ministry of Defence (MOD). As a diplomat, he learned Arabic in Lebanon and Jordan, served in Baghdad, and spent four years as private secretary to the British ambassador in Washington. With the MOD, his career covered a wide range of responsibilities, including planning and finance, defence exports (the al-Yamamah programme with Saudi Arabia), nuclear policy, the defence estate (running the privatisation of the MOD's married quarters housing stock), the new Labour government's 1998 Strategic Defence Review, the forward Equipment Programme, and defence industrial policy. His last job before Brussels was as the MOD's director-general of International Security Policy, where he was responsible for NATO and EU policy as well as missile defence.

Areas of expertise: international relations, international security policy, the European Security and Defence Policy, military capabilities development, defence equipment co-operation, research and industry, the Middle East and North Africa, the Middle East Peace Process

Languages: English, French, Arabic

Email: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Phone: +44 (0)75 0316 6740 

ECFR publications:

"Europe and the vanishing two-state solution", policy report, May 2013

"Europe's Strategic Cacophony", policy brief (co-author), April 2013

"How to Stop the Demilitarisation of Europe", policy brief, November 2011

Egypt’s Hybrid Revolution: a Bolder EU Approach, policy brief (co-author), May 2011

"After the Revolution: Europe and the Transition in Tunisia", policy brief (co-author), March 2011

"Towards a post-American Europe: a power audit of EU-US relations", policy report, 2 November 2009

"Re-energising Europe's security and defence policy", policy report, p. 29, July 2008

Other recent publications include:

"Procurement and War", chapter in the Oxford Handbook on War, Oxford University Press, January 2012.

During a 1993/1994 sabbatical with RAND in Santa Monica, California, Nick authored "The British Nuclear Deterrent after the Cold War" and, with Olivier de Bouzy and Robert A. Levine, "Western European Nuclear Forces". He was also published in "Survival".




European Spring: How to put our economies and politics right? - 15 Jul 14

With European economies failing to deliver higher standards of living, and growing public disillusionment with apparently self-serving politicians, Philippe Legrain discusses where

Read more…

In the Press

JOL Press
15 Sep 14

Mattia Toaldo on a potential French intervention in Libya.

La Croix
14 Sep 14

Piotr Buras about the accession of Ewa Kopacz as head of the Polish government.

Deutsche Welle
13 Sep 14

Andrew Hammond on the Muslim Brotherhood leaving Qatar.

Read more press >