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23rd Aug 2019

New EU foreign policy think tank created

  • Europe should be stronger on foreign affairs, the group says (Photo: ec.europa.eu)

A group of European politicians and intellectuals have started a new think tank aimed at pushing EU capitals to creating a "more coherent and vigorous" foreign affairs policy in an attempt to make Europe a stronger player on the global stage.

The new think tank - European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR) - was launched on Tuesday (2 October) by fifty founding members such as former prime ministers, presidents, European commissioners, MEPs and ministers as well as intellectuals, business leaders, and cultural figures from the EU member states and candidate countries.

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They include Martti Ahtisaari, former Finnish president and current special UN envoy for Kosovo; Joschka Fischer, former German foreign affairs minister; Gijs de Vries, former EU counter-terrorism coordinator; Timothy Garton Ash, renowned professor of European studies; and Bronislaw Geremek, MEP and former foreign minister of Poland.

They call on European governments "to adopt a more coherent and vigorous foreign policy in support of European values and interests backed by all of Europe's power: political, cultural, economic and – when all else fails – military."

The centre will be based in seven EU capitals - Berlin, London, Madrid, Paris, Rome, Sofia and Warsaw - and headed by Mark Leonard - a writer and former director of Foreign Policy at the UK-based Centre for European Reform.

"Europe needs to come of age. We need to stop complaining about what others are doing to the world, and start thinking for ourselves. We want a can-do foreign policy, where European power is put at the service of European values," he said in a statement after the launch.

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