During our founding phase, if you wish to get in touch with the institute, please write to the following address: contact[at]big-europe.eu. You can also follow us on twitter for regular updates @BIGEurope

Brussels Institute
for Geopolitics

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The Institute’s first publication addresses the future of the European Political Community ahead of its second meeting in Moldova.

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Mission Statement

Geopolitics is back. Russia’s war against Ukraine has shaken us awake. The rise of strongmen around the world, the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and the political chasm between the United States and China have brutally shown how strategically vulnerable Europe is.

The world has entered into a new age of rivalry and uncertainty, and to thrive in this new era Europe must learn to act and think in terms of power, interests and strategy.

This shift in thinking poses tough and profound questions. Strategy and geopolitics were never what the European Union was designed for. They sit at odds with the Union’s self-image as a global beacon for peace and rules-based order.

And yet, to preserve its democratic openness on the inside, Europe must strengthen its posture to the outside, practising Kant at home and Machiavelli abroad.

For Europe to act as a power among powers, a Rubicon needs to be crossed. A novel orientation towards geography and history must be developed, a new political language to make sense of our place in a world that has changed. Only this will allow us Europeans to uphold our interests and values.

From the global scramble for energy and natural resources to the battle of narratives and the fight against climate change, we need answers that are fresh and bold and that respond to today’s geopolitical realities. Strategic awareness must be firmly embedded in decision-making structures both in Brussels and in national capitals.

This vital shift in thinking will not happen without catalysts. It requires a steady stream of sound and thought-provoking research on geopolitics and strategy, as well as a dedicated space for debate. It needs a central pivot in Brussels that connects insight from Europe’s east, west, north and south, and that brings together the continent’s best minds on statecraft, history and foresight.

Such a catalyst, hub and pivot is precisely what the Brussels Institute for Geopolitics plans to be.


Luuk van Middelaar
Hans Kribbe
Sébastien Lumet

Member State Support

The Netherlands

Private Support


Photography: © Bundespresseamt/Thomas Koehler

“Nous sommes à un moment décisif. J’ai la conviction que l’Europe doit apprendre à agir, mais aussi à penser, de façon géopolitique. L’institut géopolitique de Bruxelles sera un catalyseur clé pour articuler les intérêts stratégiques proprement européens.”
Emmanuel Macron, Président de la République française

“Europa erlebt eine Zeitenwende. Wir müssen gemeinsam einen Weg finden, damit Europa überleben und eine starke Position unter den anderen großen Akteuren auf der Weltbühne behalten kann. Deshalb kommt diese Initiative zur rechten Zeit und ist sehr sinnvoll.”
Olaf Scholz, Bundeskanzler der Bundesrepublik Deutschland

“I applaud this courageous initiative. It will augment geopolitical thinking at the very heart of the EU, in Brussels. I hope other member states will soon join us in supporting this project, allowing BIG to grow into a convening power for strategic expertise from across the continent.”
Mark Rutte, Minister-president van Nederland

Start-up Phase

Following a year of informal conversations and consultations, the Brussels Institute for Geopolitics initiative was endorsed at the highest level by three EU member state governments on 7 October 2022 in Prague. In the start-up phase, the institute’s founders will work to expand its membership and financial base, recruit highly-qualified staff, build a diverse, multinational and inclusive core team of highly-qualified researchers and authors, and define a research agenda. While consolidating its base, in 2023 the institute will also start publishing papers and organising events.


The Brussels Institute for Geopolitics has been established as a non-profit international association under Belgian law. It acquired legal personality on 28 September 2022. Following the founding phase, it will be governed by a Board elected by a General Assembly composed of its members. An Advisory Council composed of personalities valued for their experience and expertise will provide recommendations to the institute.

Who we are

Luuk van Middelaar, historian and political theorist, is a founder of the Brussels Institute for Geopolitics. He is the author of The Passage to Europe (2013), Alarums & Excursions (2019) and Pandemonium: Saving Europe (2021). He is a part-time professor of EU law at Leiden University, a political commentator for NRC Handelsblad and a member of the Dutch Advisory Council on International Affairs (AIV). Luuk was the chief speechwriter to European Council president Van Rompuy (2010-2014).


Hans Kribbe is one of the founders of the Brussels Institute for Geopolitics. He is the author of The Strongmen: European Encounters with Sovereign Power (2020) and a partner at political advisory firm Shearwater Global. Previously, he worked at the European Commission as an aide to the Commissioners for the single market and competition policy. Hans holds a PhD from the London School of Economics.


Sébastien Lumet, a political analyst, is a founder of the Brussels Institute for Geopolitics. Previously, he was the Director of the Brussels office of Groupe d’études géopolitiques and an editor for Le Grand Continent. Before, he worked in France as a consultant for public administration. Sébastien is a graduate from the College of Europe and the London School of Economics.


Elisa Díaz Gras, political theorist with 20 years of experience in international affairs. Previously head of political affairs at the Mission of Mexico to the EU. Served as a country representative to various international and regional organizations, including the United Nations in New York, the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) in Chile and UNESCO in Paris. Elected vice-president of the executive board of UN Women (2013).


During our founding phase, if you wish to get in touch with the institute, please write to the following address: contact[at]big-europe.eu. You can also follow us on twitter for regular updates @BIGEurope

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