About Bruegel

Bruegel at a glance

Bruegel is a European think tank that specialises in economics. Established in 2005, it is independent and non-doctrinal. Bruegel’s mission is to improve the quality of economic policy with open and fact-based research, analysis and debate. We are committed to impartiality, openness and excellence. Bruegel’s membership includes EU Member State governments, international corporations and institutions.

Through publications, events, social media, and a lively blog, Bruegel has carved a unique discussion space for everyone interested in improving the quality of economic policy. Through a dual focus on analysis and impact, and dynamic relationships with policymakers at every governance level, it has also established itself as a vibrant laboratory for economic policies.

Research areas

European Macroeconomics & Governance

The European crisis remains on top of the research agenda at Bruegel. The central priorities concern the best way to address remaining market tensions, the broader macroeconomic policy response in the EU, central banking, policies to foster macroeconomic adjustment, and the question of how to reform European governance to ensure effectiveness and legitimacy.

Global Economics & Governance

In this research area, Bruegel is analysing developments in the world economy, with special attention to the interactions between, on the one side, European (or European-based) actors and, on the other side, global actors and actors located in the EU’s neighbourhood. The three main lines of research are Asia, global governance and the relations between the EU and major regional players.

Finance & Financial Regulation

Research focus is on auditing and financial disclosure and the regulation, supervision and resolution of global financial firms. Another key research topic in this area is the changing financial landscape in Europe in a context of growing pressure to re-nationalize financial policy and on the link between the sovereign and the banking crisis in Europe.

Innovation & Competition Policy

A growing share of Bruegel’s research has been devoted to the study of the structural underpinnings of economic performance, competitiveness and growth. Topics covered include: the role of information technology for growth, competition policy and state aid, entrepreneurship, globalisation and future of manufacturing, firm internationalisation and competitiveness, energy and climate policies and their implications for economic performance.


2015 Research Programme
2014 Research programme
2013 Research programme
2012 Research programme
2011 Research programme
2010 Research Programme
2009 Research Programme
2008 Research Programme
2007 Research Programme
2005-2006 Research Programme


Bruegel is a non-profit international association under Belgian law (AISBL), governed by its Statutes and its Bylaws. The Board is appointed by the membership with six board members being directly elected. It is chaired by Jean-Claude Trichet and its 11 members all have distinguished backgrounds in government, business, civil society or academia. Former Chairs Mario Monti and Leszek Balcerowicz were appointed Honorary President and Honorary Chairman, respectively.

The Board decides on strategy, adopts the research programme and budget and approves the appointments of senior staff. It appoints the Director and the Deputy Director each for a period of three years renewable twice (according to Art. 9, par. 2 of the Statutes).

The Director – currently Guntram Wolff – takes over all responsibility for the management of Bruegel, with the assistance of the Deputy Director and other managers. They prepare the research programme, annual work plan, budget, and annual report and present them to the Board. The Director and Deputy exercise editorial oversight of publications and control the quality of output. Bruegel takes no institutional standpoint and publications reflect the views of the authors only.
The Scientific Council is appointed by the Board and advises Bruegel’s management and staff, as well as the Board, on research. It also evaluates the quality of Bruegel’s research. The chairperson of the Scientific Council attends Board meetings.

Bruegel is comprised of a core fellowship of top researchers from around the world, Resident, Non-resident and Affiliate, plus a team of operational staff. It also operates a Visiting Fellow programme, which allows researchers from around the world to contribute to Bruegel’s work for a limited time, normally visiting from another institution. For any questions on membership and Bruegel more generally, please do not hesitate to contact our Secretary General, Matt Dann.

Awards and Rankings

Transparify has repeatedly awarded Bruegel five stars out of five for transparency, including 2015, recognising its openness about financing and governance.

Prospects Magazine Awarded Bruegel European Economic Think Tank of the Year in 2015.

In 2014, Bruegel ranked #2 Think Tank in the World (non-US) #5 Think Tank in the World (US Included), #3 Think Tanks with the Most Significant Impact on Public Policy worldwide, #3 International Economic Policy Think Tank in the World and #3 Best Managed Think Tank in the world, in the 2014 Global Go To Think Tank Report published by the University of Pennsylvania.


The idea to set up a new, independent European think tank devoted to international economics stemmed from private discussions involving policymakers, business leaders and other individuals from several European countries in late 2002. The idea was endorsed and officially floated by France and Germany in their joint declaration in Paris on January 22nd, 2003*.

Following this declaration, a project group was created to develop and refine the concept, with the support of the relevant French and German ministries. The initiative subsequently found support from 12 EU governments and 17 leading European corporations, who committed the project’s initial funding base (5 million euro over 2004-2006) and participated in the election of its first Board in December 2004.

Bruegel was created as a Belgian Non-Profit International Association (or AISBL) on 10 August 2004, by a Decree of the King of the Belgians endorsing its statute. This is the usual formal procedure for creating organisations in Belgium like Bruegel. A temporary project structure was put in place, which ended with the first Board meeting on 17 January 2005.  The founding director was Jean Pisani-Ferry who held the position from 2005 to 2013.

*”In order that Europe can make its full contribution to international debates on economic, financial and trade policy, and have a greater capacity for analysis and initiating proposals, thereby strengthening its position in these spheres, France and Germany have decided to launch a European initiative for the creation of a European centre for the international economy devoted to those objectives. This centre, which could be located in Brussels, should progressively be able to open up to all the European partners‚ member states, EU institutions and private-sector businesses.”

Item 30 of the joint declaration by Jacques Chirac and Gerhard Schröder on 22 January 2003, on the 40th anniversary of the Elysée Treaty.


The name Bruegel can stand for Brussels European and Global Economic Laboratory.However, it was chosen because of the extraordinary evocative potential and resonance of Pieter Bruegel the painter with the think tank’s aims and identity. Pieter Bruegel drew his inspiration from the keen observation of the life of ordinary people and daily economic activity, thus echoing Bruegel‘s concrete orientation and focus on facts-based research and analysis. He was born in the Netherlands, trained in Flanders and Italy and was inspired, among others, by German painters such as Dürer, before his death in Brussels in 1569. He lived in a Europe that was marked by disorder but also by intense exchanges across countries, an unprecedented opening to the world and the revival of ideas, an epoch which, for Bruegel, the think tank, can act as a stimulating source of inspiration.

Annual reports

2014 Annual Report
2013 Annual Report
2012 Annual Report
2011 Annual Report
2010 Annual Report
2009 Annual Report
2008 Annual Report
2007 Annual Report
2006 Annual Report
2005 Annual Report
2004 Annual Report