Bruegel (institution)

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Established 2005; 12 years ago (2005)
Focus International economics
Chairman Jean Claude Trichet
Director Guntram Wolff
Staff 30
Location Brussels, Belgium
Address Rue de la Charité/Liefdadigheidsstraat 33

Bruegel is an independent and non-doctrinal think tank devoted to policy research on international economic issues, based in Brussels. It started operations in 2005[1] and has rapidly acquired reference status in European economic policy debates.

Transparify has repeatedly awarded Bruegel five stars out of five for transparency, including 2015, recognising its openness about financing and governance. Prospect Magazine Awarded Bruegel European Economic Think Tank of the Year in 2015 and in 2016. The 2015 Global Go To Think Tank Report, published by the University of Pennsylvania, ranked Bruegel as such:

  • #1 for best idea – new paradigm
  • #2 think tank in the world (non-US)
  • #2 top international economics think tank
  • #3 in best managed think tank
  • #5 top think tank worldwide (US and non-US)
  • #5 think tank with outstanding policy oriented research programs

Bruegel has a unique governance and funding model based on memberships from Member States of the European Union, international corporations, and other institutions.


Lunch time seminar at Bruegel

Bruegel relies on a core team of resident and non-resident scholars and a team of operational staff. As of December 2016, its resident research team was composed of:

  • Guntram Wolff, Director
  • Uuriintuya Batsaikhan, Affiliate Fellow
  • Gregory Claeys, Research Fellow
  • Zsolt Darvas, Senior Fellow
  • Maria Demertzis, Deputy Director
  • Alicia Garcia-Herrero, Senior Fellow
  • Pia Hüttl, Affiliate Fellow
  • J. Scott Marcus, Senior Fellow
  • Silvia Merler, Affiliate Fellow
  • Georgios Petropoulos, Research Fellow
  • André Sapir, Senior Fellow
  • Dirk Schoenmaker, Senior Fellow
  • Simone Tagliapietra, Research Fellow
  • Alessio Terzi, Affiliate Fellow
  • Reinhilde Veugelers, Senior Fellow
  • Nicolas Véron, Senior Fellow (also at the Peterson Institute for International Economics)
  • Karen Wilson, Senior Fellow
  • Simone Tagliapietra, Research Fellow
  • Georg Zachmann, Senior Fellow

Bruegel also relies on visiting and non-resident scholars, among which Alexander Lehmann, Hideyuki Makimoto, and Jianwei Xu.


Bruegel's research covers international economics and trade, fiscal and monetary policies in the EU, financial regulation, and competitiveness and growth policies. Among many other issues, it has contributed analyses and recommendations about Europe's monetary union, the Eurozone crisis, and Banking union.

Governance and funding[edit]

Bruegel is supported by a wide array of members which contribute the bulk of its financial resources. The majority of its resources comes from state and corporate members.

As of September 2014, Bruegel's membership consisted of three categories. State members are Member States of the European Union, which joined it on a voluntary basis, including Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Poland, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. Corporate members are international corporations and firms, many (but far from all) of which are headquartered in the European Union. Institutional members include national and international public financial institutions as well as central banks.

Bruegel's board is elected for a three-year term by its members and consists of 11 individuals with backgrounds in government, business, academia and civil society. As of September 2014, its members were Jean-Claude Trichet (Chairman), Carlos Egea, Anna Ekström, Íñigo Fernández de Mesa, Wolfgang Franz, Jerzy Hausner, Wolfgang Kopf, Vincenzo La Via, Rachel Lomax, Andreas Penk, and Hans Vijlbrief. The board decides on Bruegel's research agenda, a process that is conducted on a yearly basis and includes in-depth consultation of all members. It also appoints the director and deputy director, and oversees Bruegel's financial management and budget. However, under Bruegel's statute and bylaws, neither the Board nor the members can interfere in research results and publication decisions‚ the responsibility for which remains with the director and individual scholars.

Bruegel has been recognized from its outset as setting pioneering high standards in terms of financial transparency.[2] The full list of sponsors is updated on Bruegel's website, and individual financial contributions are detailed in Bruegel's Annual Reports which are also available online. In May 2014, Bruegel was awarded the highest rating by Transparify, a targeted initiative on think tank transparency.[3]


Bruegel regularly asks an ad hoc task force to review the impact and relevance of its work. One such task force covering the period 2010–12 was chaired by Esko Aho, following an earlier one covering 2007–09 that was chaired by Ieke van den Burg. In both cases, corresponding reports have been posted online by Bruegel.[4][5] The scientific assessment component of such reviews is provided by Bruegel's scientific council, which as of September 2014 included Lucrezia Reichlin (Chair), Giuseppe Bertola, Sergei Guriev, Kai Konrad, Philippe Martin, Kevin O'Rourke, and Paul Seabright.


Bruegel was co-founded by two economists, Jean Pisani-Ferry and Nicolas Véron, and officially floated by French President Jacques Chirac and German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder at the 40th anniversary of the Elysée Treaty in January 2003.[6] Former European Commissioner Mario Monti was instrumental in its launch and became its first Chairman in early 2005, following Bruegel's legal creation as an International Non-Profit Association under Belgian law in August 2004.[7]

The board was successively chaired by Mario Monti (2005–08), Leszek Balcerowicz (2008–12), and Jean Claude Trichet (since April 2012).[8] Jean Pisani-Ferry was director from January 2005 to April 2013. Guntram Wolff joined Bruegel in 2011 and became its Director in 2013.

Bruegel moved to its current premises, on Rue de la Charité/Liefdadigheidsstraat 33 in central Brussels, in April 2005.


Bruegel explains its name as a tribute to Pieter Bruegel, the 16th-century painter whose work epitomizes unvarnished and innovative depictions of life in Europe. It can also be read as a reference to a "Brussels European and Global Economic Laboratory", even though Bruegel does not consider its name to be an acronym.


  1. ^ "European think tanks and the EU" (PDF). Berlaymont paper (2). September 2012. Retrieved 21 September 2013. 
  2. ^ "Brussels think tanks persist in funding secrecy". Corporate Europe Observatory. December 2006. 
  3. ^ "How Transparent are Think Tanks about Who Funds Them" (PDF). Retrieved 11 September 2014. 
  4. ^ Bruegel Review Task Force (October 2013). "Bruegel at 8: Review of the relevance and impact of the work of Bruegel 2010–2012" (PDF). [permanent dead link]
  5. ^ Bruegel Review Task Force (June 2010). "Bruegel at 5: Review of quality, relevance and impact of Bruegel’s activities 2007–2009" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 3 December 2011. 
  6. ^ Jean Pisani-Ferry (September 9, 2015). "Bruegel: An Unlikely Start-Up". Bruegel Blog. 
  7. ^ "Bruegel: newest addition to think tank landscape in Brussels". Euractiv. 19 January 2005. 
  8. ^ Ian Wishart (4 April 2012). "Trichet named head of think-tank". European Voice.