Our Mission

Europe is in the midst of a historic transition, the outcome of which is of great strategic importance to the United States. The Atlantic Council’s Future Europe Initiative promotes the leadership and strategies required to bolster the vision of a strong Europe advancing a better global future in partnership with the United States. The Initiative seeks to understand change in Europe, galvanize leadership, and forge a strategy of renewal.


Since the Atlantic Council’s founding, Europe has been the United States’ political, economic, and security partner of first resort. North America and Europe were the most effective force globally when acting together. Together, North America and Europe laid the foundations for a liberal international order that offers the prospect of widely-shared security, prosperity, and freedom. Today, however, the core principles that defined the effort to build a more united Europe are threatened by economic stagnation, external and internal security challenges, massive migrant and refugee flows, and sharp political divisions both within and among countries. Detractors from these principles, whether authoritarians, terrorists, or nihilistic non-state actors, seek strategic advantage at this time of distraction.

The Atlantic Council’s Future Europe Initiative is premised on the belief that the United States has an enormous strategic stake in Europe’s future, and in a coherent and cohesive Atlantic community. Vision, leadership, and sustainable strategies are needed to protect and bolster this unique partnership as a force for good in the world.

Our Focus

  • Restoring transatlantic leadership in the global economy and bolstering the economic foundation of the transatlantic community’s international strength by advancing growth, innovation, and competition policies.
  • Building a Europe, whole, free, and at peace by restoring trust in the European project, confronting backsliding, integrating the peripheries, and developing a long-term Russia strategy.
  • Renewing NATO and developing a more credible European defense pillar.
  • Galvanizing Europe on global challenges ranging from the wider Middle East and North Africa to the Arctic, the Asia-Pacific, and Latin America.
  • Building a transatlantic consensus on issues of global consequence, such as energy markets and supplies, international financial flows, climate change, cyber security, and disruptive technologies.
  • Recommitting to common values and ideals across the Atlantic and with other partners by fostering an international order characterized by rule of law, democracy, human rights, and free markets.
  • Developing the next generation of American and European, including Russian, leaders.

Our Projects

Europe 2020
To highlight the impact of global trends on the European continent, this study will produce a series of scenarios on the state of Europe five years in the future. The Future Europe Initiative, in partnership with the Strategic Foresight Initiative, will roll out a menu of options for Europe’s future in spring 2016 and this report will provide a strategic baseline for further examination of US and transatlantic responses to those scenarios.

Transatlantic Digital Agenda
This task force, co-chaired by former Prime Minister of Sweden Carl Bildt and former US Ambassador to the European Union William Kennard, explores the importance of creating a transatlantic digital marketplace, the challenges such a task will face, and the opportunities it offers both sides of the Atlantic.

The European Union and its Member States
This project leverages a network of leading experts to analyze the rapidly-changing internal dynamics of the European Union and the EU’s interactions with its member states. Through issue briefs, blogs, and visits by high-level EU officials, this project fosters understanding of this organization and its actions in fields with outsized global impact, such as migration policy, sanctions policy, energy union, and climate change.

US-EU Strategic Partnership on a Changing Arab World
A two year project that supports dialogue about a sustainable transatlantic strategy to support Arab transitions. The Future Europe Initiative, in partnership with the Rafik Hariri Center on
the Middle East, engages high-level US and European policymakers, experts, and opinion leaders on key issues related to US-EU cooperation on the Arab countries that experienced uprisings in 2011, including Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, and Yemen.

European Leadership Series
The Future Europe Initiative convenes European heads of state and government, foreign ministers, and thought leaders for public and private conversations on Europe’s future. Through this series, the Atlantic Council serves as a home for Europe’s most important leaders during their visits to Washington.

In the Embassies
This series of dinners and salon discussions hosted in embassies around Washington deepens ties between Washington’s diplomatic corps and the Atlantic Council’s community of opinion shapers, experts, and stakeholders. European embassies and ambassadorial residences across Washington offer convening platforms to not only address the most pressing challenges facing the transatlantic community and Europe’s future, but to do so in charming settings that reflect Europe’s cultural and historical diversity.

The US-German Next Generation Project was launched in February 2015 to identify new voices from the United States and Germany who could help formulate a strategy and foster a debate on strengthening the US-German relationship. In June 2015, twelve German and American fellows published their report, "Through a New Prism: A Next Generation Strategy for the US-German Relationship," in English and German. The project also includes the Next Generation Network, an online forum where next generation Germans and Americans can exchange ideas.

French-American Competitiveness Project 
This project examines French and American competitiveness as it relates to specific industry sectors and policy issues. The project is designed to stimulate discussion within and between the public and private sectors in order to build new strategic networks that address the reality that competitiveness in both France and the United States has rapidly declined in recent years as a result of the globalization of the world economy. The project also provides a forum for advancing the French-American partnership to support cooperation on today's most pressing political, economic, and security challenges. Read the project’s most recent report on French-American Competitiveness.