Mission statement

The Centre for European Reform is an award-winning, independent think-tank that seeks to achieve an open, outward-looking, influential and prosperous European Union, with close ties to its neighbours and allies. The CER’s work in pursuit of those aims is guided by the same principles that have served us well since our foundation in 1998: sober, rigorous and realistic analysis, combined with constructive proposals for reform.

The CER’s reputation as a trusted source of intelligence and timely analysis of European affairs is based on its two strongest assets: experienced and respected experts, plus an unparalleled level of contacts with senior figures in governments across Europe and in the EU’s institutions. Since the UK’s referendum on EU membership we have reinforced our networks in Europe by opening offices in Brussels in January 2017 and Berlin in October 2018. The diverse perspectives and specialisations of our researchers, half of whom are from EU-27 countries, enhance the quality and breadth of our analysis of European politics, economics and foreign policy.

The CER is pro-European but not uncritical. We regard European integration as largely beneficial but recognise that in many respects the Union under-performs, at home and beyond its borders. We look for ways to make it work better and then promote our ideas through publications, the media and various forms of direct engagement.

The CER’s audience ranges from European politicians and officials, to journalists and the wider public who want to know more about the EU and its activities. The CER believes it is in the long-term interests of the EU and the UK to have the closest economic and political relationship that the political realities will allow.

We follow closely the trials and tribulations of the eurozone and the European economies, as well as the EU’s single market and its energy and trade policies. We also study the Union’s foreign, defence and security policies – including its relations with its neighbours, and with Russia and China; its approach to refugees and migration; co-operation on law-enforcement and counter-terrorism; the functioning of the EU’s institutions; and the state of democracy in Europe. Since the British referendum, the CER has played an active part in developing viable and practicable proposals on the UK’s future links with the EU.

The CER’s engagement with senior figures in Europe is reflected in the speakers we attract to our events. In recent years, guests have included Emmanuel Macron, Margrethe Vestager and Michel Barnier. These high-level contacts enhance the accuracy of our analysis and enable us to refine our proposals, both in publications and in the private briefings that we provide to senior officials, ministers and European commissioners. 

Through our meetings, seminars and conferences, we bring together people from the worlds of politics and business, as well as other opinion-formers. Most of our events are by invitation only and off-the-record, to ensure free and frank debate.

The CER is a private, not-for-profit organisation. We are not affiliated with any government, political party or European institution. The CER is funded largely by donations from the private sector. Our corporate members are listed here, alongside details of our staff and advisory board. Read the CER’s integrity statement here. Information on our work programme and funding can be found in our annual reports.

The CER won the Prospect prize for best Foreign Affairs think-tank in 2020 and was named 'Think Tank of the year' in 2018 and 2013. Previously we had won the Prospect prize for the best UK international affairs think-tank in 2017 and 2015.

Charles Grant signature

Charles Grant
Director, Centre for European Reform