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Europe Needs New Ideas: Will a New Think Tank Provide Them?

A new liberal think tank is opening in Berlin. That is, it’s “liberal” in the European sense, which is to say mildly conservative in U.S. terms.

Open Europe Berlin” will cooperate with the original Open Europe Institute in London, an invaluable source of analysis, commentary and alternative ideas for the world’s largest (and by far most troubled) economic zone.

Most EU-based think tanks are pretty conformist and timid, in part due to the lower willingness of Europeans to give money to support this kind of work. Government and established corporate funding tends to limit the range of opinion that European think tankers are willing to embrace. Open Europe has been breaking that mold in London, and we hope that the new group in Berlin will be as successful.

Europe has never needed bold and frank discussion more than it does now. Any efforts to introduce new ideas and perspectives into the German conversation about the future of Europe are welcome. It has been true for 150 years that Anglo-German cooperation offers the best path forward for Europe. So far, neither country has been able to develop a realistic basis for that kind of future.

This is all the more reason why cooperation among thinkers and analysts in the UK and Germany is welcome. As Britain contemplates leaving the EU and Germany contemplates life in an EU dominated by France, Italy and Spain, it may be that there is one more chance for these countries to find common ground before Europe loses yet another chance to anchor itself in the future rather than the past.

Unlikely, perhaps, but we can hope—and applaud those working to bring the two countries together around future oriented ideas.

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