Bruegel (institution)

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Established2005; 14 years ago (2005)
FocusEuropean and international economic policy
ChairmanJean Claude Trichet
DirectorGuntram Wolff
AddressRue de la Charité/Liefdadigheidsstraat 33

Bruegel is a think tank devoted to policy research on economic issues. Based in Brussels, it launched its operations in 2005 and currently conducts research in five different focus areas with the aim of improving economic debate and policy-making.[1]

Bruegel was recognised as the second best international economics think tank worldwide and the fourth best think tank in the world, according to the 2017 Global Go To Think Tank Report.[2]

It has a governance and funding model based on memberships from Member States of the European Union, international corporations, and other institutions.[3]


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. The think tank was initially co-founded by the economists Jean Pisani-Ferry and Nicolas Véron in 2002. It was officially endorsed by former French President Jacques Chirac and German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder at the 40th anniversary of the Elysée Treaty in January 2003.[4]

Former European Commissioner Mario Monti was instrumental in Bruegel's creation and became its first Chairman in early 2005, following the think tanks's legal creation as an International Non-Profit Association under Belgian law and its first Board election in 2004.[5]

The Board was successively chaired by Mario Monti (2005–08), Leszek Balcerowicz (2008–12), and Jean Claude Trichet (2012- present).[6] Jean Pisani-Ferry was Bruegel's Director from January 2005 to April 2013 before being succeeded in his role by Guntram Wolff.[7]

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

Research programme[edit]

Bruegel's research is divided into five broad research areas: European Macroeconomics & Governance, Global Economics & Governance, Finance & Financial Regulation, Innovation & Competition, and Energy & Climate.[8] The research programme is reviewed every three years while the research priorities are developed on a yearly basis in the Fall by the Board after discussions with Bruegel scholars, members and other stakeholders.[1]

European Macroeconomics & Governance[edit]

The European Macroeconomics & Governance focus addresses issues relating to the European fiscal, economic, banking and political union. The theme covers topics which discuss how to reform European governance, address market tensions and adjust European macroeconomic policies.

Global Economics & Governance[edit]

The Global Economic & Governance area examines the implications of the interactions between global and EU actors and studies for the international economy. It holds a particular focus on Asian developments, global governance, and the ties between the EU and major regional players.

Finance & Financial Regulation[edit]

The Finance & Financial Regulation research area explores the developments of financial regulation, supervision and resolution on both the international and EU level. There is also an in-depth focus on the sovereign banking crisis in Europe as well as the movement to re-nationalize financial policy.

Innovation & Competition[edit]

The Innovation & Competition section analyses the role of information technology, competition policy, entrepreneurship and technological innovations on economic performance and growth.

Energy & Climate[edit]

The Energy & Climate focus contributes to the research on energy security, integrated energy markets, energy efficiency, decarbonisation of the economy, and research and innovation in these fields.

Publications and events[edit]

Bruegel's scholars regularly publish their research through post on the think tank's blog. For more in-depth analysis of their research topics, they also release policy briefs, policy contributions, working papers and blueprints.[3] They have presented testimonies at the European Parliament and various national parliaments[3].

Bruegel also hosts events which gather experts, the public and various stakeholders for in-depth discussion on a range of policy issues. The events are often livestreamed with the video and audio recordings on Bruegel's website. In 2017, they hosted 73 events throughout the year and released 11 episodes of their podcast series "The Sound of Economics".[3]

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 March 2017, Bruegel's membership consisted of three categories. State members are Member States of the European Union, which join on a voluntary basis, including Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Poland, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. Corporate members are international corporations and firms, many 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 12 individuals with backgrounds in government, business, academia and civil society. As of March 2017, its members were Jean-Claude Trichet (Chairman), Thies Buttner, Karolina Ekholm, Jose Manuel Gonzalez-Paramo, Vincenzo La Via, Rachel Lomax, Isabelle Mateos Y Lago, Simone Mori, Elena Pisonero, Pawel Samecki, Tuomas Saarenheimo, 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.

Awards and recognition[edit]

Transparify has repeatedly awarded Bruegel five stars out of five for transparency, including in 2018. Prospect Magazine Awarded Bruegel the European Economic Think Tank of the Year in 2015, 2016, and 2017.

The 2017 Global Go To Think Tank Report, published by the University of Pennsylvania, ranked Bruegel as such:

  • #2 top international economics think tank (worldwide)
  • #2 best managed think tank (worldwide)
  • #2 think tank with best policy oriented research programme (worldwide)
  • #2 think tank in the world (non-US)
  • #4 think tank in the world (including US)
  • #5 think tanks with the most significant impact on public policy


Lunch time seminar at Bruegel

Bruegel research team is composed of senior fellows, non-resident fellows, research fellows and affiliate fellows as well as a team or research assistants.

The non-research staff is responsible for Bruegel's daily operations, development outreach, event coordination and communications.[3]

The management team ensures the coordination of both research and non-research staff, and it is composed by Guntram Wolff (Director), Maria Demertzis (Deputy Director), Matt Dann (Secretary General), Paola Maniga, (Head of Development), and Giuseppe Porcaro (Head of Communications and Events).


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.[9][10] The scientific assessment component of such reviews is provided by Bruegel's scientific council composed of eight individuals and chaired by Svend E. Hougaard Jensen.


  1. ^ a b "Bruegel at a glance | Bruegel". Retrieved 2018-07-10.
  2. ^
  3. ^ a b c d e Bruegel. "Annual Report 2017" (PDF).
  4. ^ Jean Pisani-Ferry (September 9, 2015). "Bruegel: An Unlikely Start-Up". Bruegel Blog.
  5. ^ "Bruegel: newest addition to think tank landscape in Brussels". Euractiv. 19 January 2005.
  6. ^ Ian Wishart (4 April 2012). "Trichet named head of think-tank". European Voice.
  7. ^ "Bruegel's history | Bruegel". Retrieved 2018-07-10.
  8. ^ "Bruegel at a glance | Bruegel". Retrieved 2018-07-10.
  9. ^ Bruegel Review Task Force (October 2013). "Bruegel at 8: Review of the relevance and impact of the work of Bruegel 2010–2012" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2014-07-23.
  10. ^ 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.