**European economic think-tank launched**
A new economic think-tank was launched yesterday in Brussels in a bid to inject fresh thinking into EU economic policy.
The EU Observer reports that the new body – named Bruegel (BRUssels European and Global Economic Laboratory) – is set to be a high profile addition to the Brussels scene, with former Competition Commissioner Mario Monti as Chairman and well-known French economist Jean Pisani-Ferry as Director.
The new body has an unusual funding structure – part funded by member states and part funded by corporations.
There are 12 Member States contributing to its budget (Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Slovenia, Spain and the UK) and 18 corporations, including DaimlerChrysler, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Siemens and Telecom Italia. Overall, around five million euros have been committed until the end of 2006.
The think-tank hopes to help the EU achieve an “outward-orientated” focus, and three main areas of research are envisaged: macroeconomic and international trade issues, markets and regulations and trade, migration and development.
Speaking to journalists at Bruegel’s launch, Mr Pisani-Ferry said, *”We have a long way to go before we reach the input into policy achieved in the US”*. American think-tanks are renowned for their high-quality research and their influence over US economic policy.
The concept of a European economic think-tank was first mooted by France and Germany in a declaration in January 2003 that said, *”in order that Europe can make its full contribution to international debates on economic, financial and trade policy … France and Germany have decided to launch a European initiative for the creation of a European centre for the international economy devoted to these objectives”.* Since that time, 10 other member states have supported the concept and attracted corporation support as well, culminating in Bruegel.