Friends of Europe

Friends of Europe is a Brussels-based, not-for-profit think-tank for European Union policy analysis and debate. The organisation, established in 1999, has no political or national allegiance and is independent of the EU institutions. Its declared goal is to foster open discussion and to stimulate new thinking on the issues facing Europe and its citizens.[2] It is located in the Treesquare building in De Meeûssquare.

Friends of Europe
Formation1999; 22 years ago (1999)
TypeThink tank
Giles Merritt[1]

Areas of expertise

The organisation's activities focus in particular on seven thematic areas:[2]

Board of trustees

Friends of Europe's board of trustees is composed of people who hold, or have held, positions of responsibility in European affairs. Its president is Etienne Davignon, a politician, businessman and former vice-president of the European Commission. Other members of the Praesidium are:[3]

Friends of Europe's chairman is Giles Merritt, a former Brussels correspondent of the Financial Times.[4]

EU Interest Representative Register

In April 2009 Administration and Anti-Fraud Commissioner Siim Kallas publicly criticised Friends of Europe for not registering in its "voluntary lobbyists register."[5] Kallas maintained that think tanks, such as Friends of Europe, were an important source of visibility of indirect interest representation at the EU level, and that Friends was explicitly marketing visibility for sponsors. Secretary-General Giles Merritt responded that the organisation made its sources of funding public on its website, and was not promoting any particular interests. He suggested the creation of a separate register for think tanks.


  1. "Mission, Vision, Values", Friends of Europe, August 7, 2019. Retrieved 2019-07-08.
  2. "Friends of Europe website – "About us"". Archived from the original on 5 July 2008. Retrieved 28 August 2008.
  3. "Friends of Europe website – "Trustees"". Archived from the original on 27 May 2008. Retrieved 28 August 2008.
  4. "Friends of Europe website – "Team"". Archived from the original on 16 June 2008. Retrieved 28 August 2008.