About ECFR

The European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR) is an award-winning international think-tank that aims to conduct cutting-edge independent research on European foreign and security policy and to provide a safe meeting space for decision-makers, activists and influencers to share ideas. We build coalitions for change at the European level and promote informed debate about Europe’s role in the world.


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In 2007, ECFR’s founders set about creating a pan-European institution that could combine establishment credibility with intellectual insurgency. Today, ECFR remains uniquely placed to continue providing a pan-European perspective on some of the biggest strategic challenges and choices Europeans need to confront, with a network of offices in seven European capitals, over 90 staff from more than 25 different countries and a team of associated researchers in the EU 27 member states. Find out more about our 2022-2025 Strategy Framework

Explore ECFR as a leading pan-European foreign policy think tank:

Download ECFR brochure (June 2024) PDF

Our unique approach

Contagious ideas

Developing ideas that people talk about

ECFR has brought together a team of distinguished policy entrepreneurs to link cutting edge research to practical pan-European policy. Our research is presented through five programmes – Africa, Asia, Middle East and North Africa, Wider Europe and the European Power programme. 

Pan-European presence

Engaging with the national conversation

ECFR is the only think-tank that has a truly pan-European footprint, with offices in Berlin, London, Madrid, Paris, Rome, Sofia and Warsaw, and a presence in Brussels. Our unique structure allows us to understand national agendas and be part of the national conversation.

Community of leaders

Bringing Europe together

ECFR’s Council is the strongest and most visible expression of our pan-European identity and consists of serving foreign ministers, former prime ministers, members of national parliaments and the European Parliament, EU Commissioners, former NATO secretary generals, thinkers, journalists and business leaders. Council Members help us to europeanise the national conversations on the EU’s foreign policy priorities and challenges.


Mark Leonard, Director
Alba Lamberti, Deputy Director, Operations
Vessela Tcherneva, Deputy Director, Programmes and Advocacy

Board of Trustees

Carl Bildt, Co-chair of the Council
Lykke Friis, Co-chair of the Council
Norbert Röttgen, Co-chair of the Council
Franziska Brantner
Ian Clarkson
Marta Dassù
Arancha González Laya
Sylvie Kauffmann
Ivan Krastev
Rana Mitter
Andrzej Olechowski
Marietje Schaake
Helle Thorning-Schmidt
Adam Tooze



The Africa programme analyses the geopolitics of the Africa-Europe relationship. This includes relations between the African Union and the European Union; foreign policy tools and strategies; and opportunities to find creative policy solutions.


The Asia programme seeks to help Europe recalibrate its relationship with China and its Asian partners. The programme analyses China’s domestic situation, its role in the region and its increasing influence around the world and put a renewed emphasis on fostering Europe’s relationships with India and Japan.

European Power

The European Power programme was created in 2015 to help Europeans develop policy responses to the issues affecting the EU’s capacity to act on the global scene. The programme explores the obstacles to sustainable unity on current and future foreign policy challenges and seeks to develop solutions for overcoming them.

Middle East & North Africa

The Middle East and North Africa programme follows political upheaval and sectarian conflict in the region, aiming to identify political solutions and help Europe develop coherent responses to North Africa’s transitions and the Middle East peace process.

Wider Europe

To remain relevant in the region, the European Union needs a coherent and consistent strategy to promote its interests and values together with the political will to follow this through. The Wider Europe programme was launched in 2007 with the aim of fostering this process.

National Offices

ECFR’s National Offices are a vital component of our pan-European outreach. They help us understand and influence the debate in the EU’s key national capitals, building networks amongst policy makers and journalists, and making sense of the big policy questions facing Europe in the 21st century from the differing perspectives of EU members.

ECFR offices

The Council

A community of leaders

  • 19 Heads of state and govern­ment
  • 31 Prominent European officials
  • 46 Business leaders
  • 72 Civil society leaders
  • 19 Senior officials in international organisations
  • 30 Foreign ministers
  • 13 Government ministers
  • 19 Ambassadors
  • 39 Parliament­arians
  • 14 European commis­sioners
  • 31 Academics
  • 14 Journalists and influencers

The ECFR Council is the strongest and most visible expression of ECFR’s pan-European identity. Through their individual networks and collective engagement with ECFR policy and advocacy initiatives, Council Members contribute to foster and europeanise national debates on the EU’s foreign policy priorities and challenges. Currently chaired by Carl Bildt, Lykke Friis and Norbert Röttgen, our unique strategic community brings together renowned European decision-makers, experts, thinkers and influencers who act as goodwill ambassadors for ECFR’s ideas.