Wilfried Martens Centre for European Studies

The Wilfried Martens Centre for European Studies is the 10th biggest think tank worldwide and the official think tank of the European People's Party.[1] Its mission is to offer decision makers and opinion leaders assistance in formulating new and effective policy options, as well as to put forward new ideas and provide a forum where they can be debated. The Centre's goals are to have policy impact through concrete policy proposals, to shape European public opinion, and to be the key platform of cooperation for centre-right partners and experts. Currently, the president of the Martens Centre is former Slovak prime minister Mikuláš Dzurinda, who succeeded the centre's founder Wilfried Martens in 2013.

Wilfried Martens Centre for European Studies
AbbreviationMartens Centre
Formation2007; 13 years ago (2007)
TypePolitical foundation at European level
HeadquartersRue du Commerce 20
1000 Brussels, Belgium
Mikuláš Dzurinda

The Martens Centre was founded in 2007 as a result of the revision of the EU Regulation that after 2007 allowed the creation of European foundations and think tanks affiliated to the European parties. The European People's Party (EPP) established the Centre for European Studies (CES) as its official think tank. Later, during the EPP Congress in Dublin on 6 and 7 March 2014, the think tank was renamed in honour of its founder Wilfried Martens. It is now known as the "Wilfried Martens Centre for European Studies".

The Martens Centre embodies a pan-European mindset, promoting Christian Democrat and conservative political values. It serves as a framework for national political foundations linked to member parties of the EPP and currently has more than 40 partners across Europe and the rest of the world. The Martens Centre hosts more than 100 events per year, and collaborates with more than 500 speakers and experts. Besides the organisation of various events (including the Economic Ideas Forum and Makerstown), round table discussions and interview series such as “I say Europe, you say…”, the Martens Centre also publishes numerous research papers on various topics, as well as a biannual academic journal, European View.


As the official think tank of the EPP, the Martens Centre monitors, analyses and contributes to the debate relating to the policies of the EU, both on the expert and more general-public level. The Centre produces research papers, books and policy briefs. These can be found in PDF, ePub and Mobi format on the Martens Centre website. One of the Centre's main publications is European View, a biannual policy journal that serves as the intellectual platform for politicians, opinion makers and academics to tackle contemporary themes of European politics. Each issue focuses on a specific topic. Other important publications include:

  • I say Europe, you say…?”: a series of entertaining interviews with centre-right politicians, aiming to give their perspective and ideas on the European common project and its future. This publication was conceptualised in 2016 and has been published since January 2017. Ultimately, it aims to reveal the human side of EU and national policymakers.
  • Brexitometer: a monthly vlog discussing pertinent issues and developments regarding the Brexit negotiations.
  • 60 seconds: a weekly satirical overview of political events in 60 seconds.


The Martens Centre organises the Economic Ideas Forum (EIF), providing high level economic experts, Ministers of Economy, EU Commissioners, EU Prime Ministers and business leaders around the world with an opportunity to consider innovative ideas and propose solutions to the economic challenges facing the EU economy. EIF 2018 took place in Paris on 21 June and EIF 2019 will be held in Cyprus in March 2019. The Martens Centre also holds the Annual Transatlantic Think Tank Conference bringing together high-level think tankers, experts, policymakers and other stakeholders from both sides of the Atlantic to discuss important themes in transatlantic relations. Other important events include:

  • Makerstown: a unique annual event aimed at showcasing the talents and exceptional skills of young innovators and entrepreneurs at a fair specifically designed to portray and discuss the Town of the Future. Makerstown consists both of an exhibition organised in the form of a fair, and the Makers Conference, which includes several interesting panel discussions with eminent EU leaders on the topic of entrepreneurship.
  • Food for Thought Series: a series of roundtable discussions on various relevant issues with numerous experts sharing their opinions, views and possible solutions to pivotal political, social, and economic questions.


In 2017, the Martens Centre received a European Excellence Award in the category of Best Political Congress for one of its flagship projects – the Economic Ideas Forum, and in 2018 the Centre won a Digital Communication Award as the Best Digital Channel for its podcast series Europe Out Loud.

Network Foundations and PartnersEdit

The Martens Centre functions as a pan-European platform for member foundations, think tanks and experts from all over Europe that share the values of the Centre and those of the EPP political family. Working closely with national partners allows the Martens Centre to advocate its main leitmotiv, which is to bring the European debate where it matters the most: closer to the European public.

Network Foundations of the Martens CentreEdit



Executive BoardEdit

The roles of the Board range from drafting the annual programme based on agreed research priorities, to ensuring the legal representation and financial supervision of the activities of the Martens Centre and steering the expansion of the Centre's network of member organisations.

Academic CouncilEdit

The Executive Board nominates esteemed academics and researchers as members of the Academic Council in order to increase the academic scope of the Centre and oversee the scientific standards of its research, studies and activities. This includes enhancing its standing and visibility in the academic sphere, and contributing with expertise, advice and ideas to ensure the Centre is always pursuing cutting-edge research. The Academic Council also proposes new and innovative projects and implements the highest standard of peer review.

Research AssociatesEdit

Research Associates are politically like-minded academics who provide research papers, short analyses and blogs and who are also capable of providing quick advice on current affairs. The Research Associates contribute to an improved reflection process on fundamental strategic questions and indirectly provide input for strategic debates within the EPP family.

General AssemblyEdit

The General Assembly is composed of representatives of the Centre's political foundation/think-tank members and individual members who represent the interests of the European People's Party and of its member parties.