EPIN is a network of European think tanks and policy institutes with members in most member states and candidate countries of the European Union. It was established in 2002 during the constitutional Convention on the Future of Europe with partial funding under the PRINCE 'Future of Europe' programme of the European Commission. Then, its principle role was to follow the works of the Convention. More than 30 conferences in member states and candidate countries were organised in the following year. Since its founding CEPS has served as the network's coordinator.
With the conclusion of the Convention, the funding ended. Yet, CEPS and other participating institutes decided to keep the network in operation. Since then CEPS provides financial support to the network. EPIN has continued to follow the constitutional process in all its phases: (1) the intergovernmental conference of 2003-2004; (2) the ratification process of the Constitutional Treaty; (3) the period of reflection; (4) the intergovernmental conference of 2007; and (5) the ratification process of the Lisbon Treaty. Currently EPIN focuses on (6) the implementation of the Treaty.
Since 2005, an EPIN 'Steering Committee' takes the most important decisions. Currently there are five member institutes: CEPS, ELCANO (Spain), SIEPS (Sweden), Clingendael (Netherlands) and the European Institute of Romania (EIR).
Currently there are 41 EPIN members from 27 countries, within and outside of the EU. The 'hard core' work of the network is based on the cooperation of about 15 most active institutes. The member institutes are quite diverse in size and structure, but are all characterised by political independence and the absence of any predetermined point of view or political affiliation.
EPIN organises three events in Brussels and beyond per year; as well as ad hoc conferences or other activities. The network publishes joint publications on topical issues (e.g. flexible integration, Europe of citizens). EPIN focuses on institutional reform of the Union, but other issues are also addressed. The network follows preparations for the European elections, the EU's communication policy, and the political dynamics after enlargement, as well as EU foreign policy and justice and home affairs.
EPIN is a network that offers its member institutes the opportunity to contribute to the 'European added-value' for researchers, decision-makers and citizens. The network provides a platform for researchers and policy analysts to establish personal links, exchange knowledge and collaborate on EU-related issues. Members bring their national perspectives to bear on the issues tackled and through collaboration they contribute to establish a 'European added-value' (e.g. on EU communication, flexible integration). By doing so they strengthen a common European dimension in the national debates on Europe.
Nine EPIN members have been ranked among TOP 50 global think tanks in the report 2008 Global Go To Think Tank by James G. McGann from the University of Pennsylvania. The research covered almost 5,500 think tanks in the world.
EPIN Coordinator is Steven Blockmans, Senior Research Fellow at CEPS. He can be contacted at epin(at)ceps.eu or by phone +18.104.22.168.25.