Brussels think tanks on Twitter: a performance ranking

In 2012 there has been a visible positive trend within the engagement of Brussels-based think tanks on Twitter. Here is an attempt to assess their performances.


According to European Agenda there are some 64 think tanks in Brussels. However, in this study I present findings from those participating in the next Brussels Think Tank Dialogue on 22 April 2013 (With the exception of Egmont, Royal Institute for International Relations that does not have a Twitter account.

This data has been processed via Twitonomy. I envisage to provide a more global and comprehensive report on the full list of Brussels-based think tanks in the future.


From the table below you can see how Bruegel is the most followed profile (11184 followers), SWP gets the highest retweet rate (83.06%) while Bertelsmann Stiftung got so far the highest number of absolute retweets (10493). Friends of Europe is the think tank which is listed the most (285). Let’s now have a look at the full ranking by followers:

Figure 1 Overview


  1. Bruegel (11184 followers): Bruegel is a European think tank specializing in economics. Established in 2005, Bruegel is independent and non-doctrinal. Recently nominated Best Think Tank in Western Europe and Best International Economic Policy Think Tank for 2012 in the McGann Go to Think Tanks report
  2. Friends of Europe (6255 followers): Friends of Europe – Les amis de l’Europe is a leading think-tank that aims to stimulate thinking on key global and European political challenges. Our insightful and timely publications and animated debates provide access to sharp analysis and information. We promote the confrontation of ideas that is vital to policymaking and encourage wider involvement in Europe’s future.
  3. CEPS (5863 followers): Founded in Brussels in 1983, the Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS) is among the most experienced and authoritative think tanks operating in the European Union today. CEPS serves as a leading forum for debate on EU affairs, but its most distinguishing feature lies in its strong in-house research capacity, complemented by an extensive network of partner institutes throughout the world.
  4. IFRI (4601 followers): Founded in 1979 on the model of Anglo-Saxon think thanks, Ifri is the principal institution for independent research and debate in France that is dedicated to the analysis of international questions and global governance. In 2012, Ifri was the only French research institute ranked among the 100 most influential think tanks in the world, including the United States, according to the “Global Think Tank Report 2012
  5. FRIDE (3038 followers): FRIDE is a European think tank for global action, which provides innovative thinking and rigorous analysis of key debates in international relations. Our mission is to inform policy and practice in order to ensure that the EU plays a more effective role in supporting multilateralism, democratic values, security and sustainable development.
  6. Lisbon Council (2664 followers): Founded in 2003, the Lisbon Council is incorporated in Belgium as an independent, non-profit and non-partisan association. As part of their commitment to environmental sustainability and in an effort to reduce our carbon footprint, the Lisbon Council offsets all greenhouse gas emissions resulting from its travel and operations and furnishes its Brussels-based office with MBDC-certified cradle-to-cradle technology. Through these efforts, the Lisbon Council is certified as a “climate neutral organisation.”
  7. Bertelsmann Stiftung (2499 followers): In keeping with the longstanding commitment of its founder, Reinhard Mohn, the Bertelsmann Stiftung is dedicated to serving the common good. Its work is based on the conviction that competition and civic engagement are fundamental for ensuring social change. The foundation aims to identify social problems and challenges at an early stage and develop exemplary solutions to address them.
  8. ECIPE (1382 followers): The European Centre for International Political Economy (ECIPE) is an independent and non-profit policy research think tank dedicated to trade policy and other international economic policy issues of importance to Europe. It was founded in 2006 by Fredrik Erixon and Razeen Sally. ECIPE is rooted in the classical tradition of free trade and an open world economic order. Progressive reduction of barriers to the movement of goods, services, capital and people across borders creates prosperity, and improves the conditions for peace, security and individual freedom.
  9. The Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik (SWP) (1069 followers): The German Institute for International and Security Affairs of the Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik (SWP) is an independent scientific establishment that conducts practically oriented research on the basis of which it then advises the Bundestag (the German parliament) and the federal government on foreign and security policy issues. The analyses and publications produced by SWP researchers and their participation in national and international debates on key issues help to shape opinion in their respective domains.
  10. Madariaga (423 followers): The Madariaga – College of Europe Foundation is dedicated to promoting original thinking on the role of the European Union in an era of global change, engaging citizens and international partners in a creative debate on the issues that shape Europe’s future. Through research and action, the Foundation pursues a three-fold mission of challenging the citizen, empowering Europe, and preventing conflict.
  11. Confrontations Europe (421 followers): The association acts as a laboratory to develop analyses and ideas with regard to changes occurring in France, in Europe and around the world, as well as proposals for social, economic and political changes. It works in collaboration with 45 major business organisations and banks, with social partners from member States and Europe, with towns and regions, numerous associations and research centres, and members of the European parliament, as well as several European Commission’s Directorates General. Confrontations Europe is continuing its methodical revision of the Lisbon Strategy, largely to provide the EU with new industrial policies and services.
  12. EPC (99 followers): The European Policy Centre has two official accounts, @eupolcent which is inactive since July 2011 and the new @epc_eu opened on 25/02/2013. This data refers to the latter[1]. The European Policy Centre (EPC) is an independent, not-for-profit think tank, committed to making European integration work. The EPC works at the “cutting edge” of European and global policy-making providing its members and the wider public with rapid, high-quality information and analysis on the EU and global policy agenda. It aims to promote a balanced dialogue between the different constituencies of its membership, spanning all aspects of economic and social life.

[1] At this regard, I did ask EPC to clarify their position on that (See here). Still, a response is awaited

Table 1 Brussels think tanks on Twitter in alphabetical order. Data collected on 28 February.


Table 2 Brussels think tanks on Twitter ordered by opening date from the oldest to the newest.


Table 3 Brussels think tanks on Twitter ordered by tweets per day (total number of tweets divided by days of activity) from the highest to the lowest value.


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