Euros / Agency took the opportunity of the third edition of the book “Les think tanks, cerveaux de la guerre des idées”, co-written by Martine Royo and Stephen Boucher, to organise conferences on 23 and 24 May in Paris and Brussels to reflect on the influence of think tanks in political decision-making.

Bringing together the authors of this book and representatives of leading French and European think tanks, these events were an opportunity for them to exchange ideas, their vision of the role of think tanks and the changes they consider necessary by looking at the themes “European think tanks and the crisis” and “The influence of French think tanks in the presidential campaign and future issues”.

It emerged from these debates that while think tanks have significant qualities, including their ability to involve citizens in decision-making and future directions, they suffer from a number of weaknesses that limit their effectiveness.

Think tanks have the fundamental capacity to connect national public spaces. Since the dissemination of political notes is not enough, they need to organize citizen gatherings, colloquia and public meetings, which some of them are doing already.

However, the lack of resources seems to be one of the main weaknesses of French and European think tanks. Indeed, the comparison with American think tanks is indisputable: the totality of French think tanks’ budget represents half of a single American think tank budget.

Moreover, communication about their ideas plays a fundamental role and once again, the American comparison is harsh: while American think tanks devote 50% of their budget to communication, it represents only 5 to 10% of their European counterparts’ budget.

Finally, the difficulty for think tanks to make their ideas heard also stems from the differences in time frames that drive the production of ideas and political decision-making: politicians think in the short term whereas think tanks have a long-term approach.

Thus, while French and European think tanks have major assets, the dissemination of their ideas faces obstacles that require evolutions so that they can develop their influence in a truly effective way.


Paris Conference

Are French think tanks really influential?

Assessment of the campaign and future challenges

Thursday, May 24, 2012

In the presence of :

  • Guillaume Klossa, President of Europe Nova
  • Bruno Rebelle, Former head of Greenpeace in France and internationally, member of Terra Nova
  • Caroline Mecary, Co-Chair of the Copernicus Foundation
  • Michel Rousseau, President of the Concorde Foundation
  • Martine Royo and Stephen Boucher, co-authors of “Les think tanks, cerveins de la guerre des idées” (ed. Le Félin)

Debate moderated by Mathieu Collet, President at Euros / Agency


Brussels Conference

European think tanks and the crisis

Do they bring solutions to the European Union?

Wednesday, May 23, 2012, 8:30 am – 10:30 am

In the presence of :

  • Guntram B. Wolff, Deputy Director, Bruegel
  • Pierre Defraigne, Executive Director of the Madariaga – College of Europe Foundation, former Director of Eur-Ifri
  • Benoît Lechat, researcher at Etopia and member of the Green European Foundation
  • Martine Royo and Stephen Boucher, co-authors of “Les think tanks, cerveins de la guerre des idées” (ed. Le Félin)

Debate moderated by Xavier Decramer, Managing Partner at Euros / Agency

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