Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is the European Council on Foreign Relations?

The European Council on Foreign Relations in a pan-European think-tank, research institute and advocacy group. It has been set up to engage in European foreign policy research, and to promote a more integrated European foreign policy in support of shared European interests and values. With offices in five European capital cities (two more coming soon) and by building partnerships and networks with leading European foreign policy institutes, ECFR brings a genuinely pan-European perspective to global issues.

2. Who is behind the initiative?

ECFR was launched in October 2007 by its 50 founding council members, all prominent Europeans from EU member states and candidate countries. Among the founding council members are serving and former heads of government, ministers and parliamentarians, business leaders, distinguished academics, journalists and public intellectuals.

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3. How are the Council Members selected?

Membership is by invitation and for a limited period of time (5 years renewable). Members will be selected according to criteria that include balance, intellectual distinction, policy influence, and commitment to open society values. Membership is limited to citizens of EU member states and candidate countries.

Candidates for membership must be nominated in writing by one ECFR member and seconded by a minimum of two other individuals who do not need to be ECFR members. Nomination letters should address the following criteria: intellectual attainment and expertise ; experience, interest, and current involvement in European foreign policy; promise of future achievement; potential contributions to the ECFR’s objectives; desire and ability to participate in ECFR’s activities; standing among their peers.

4. Why do you have offices across Europe?

We believe that if we are to meet the aspiration of being a genuinely pan-European initiative, ECFR needs a physical presence in several EU member states. The office locations in Berlin, London, Madrid, Paris, Rome and Sofia give ECFR a physical presence in countries that between them account for more than 70 per cent of the current EU population.

5. Do you have collective viewpoints?

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. On most issues you will find differing viewpoints among ECFR's staff, and our aim is to stimulate constructive debate about Europe's place in the world.