CEPS Annual Report

Thinking Ahead for Europe

Message from our CEO Karel Lannoo

A pivotal year, a year full of changes that will definitely have a bearing on the years to come. This is how I characterised 2021 at the European level. Ceteris paribus, the same is true for CEPS. After the first exceptional Covid-19 year that was 2020, we have now fully adapted to the post-Covid world through 2021 and fully digitalised our way of working, our outreach and our publications.

For 2022, we plan to focus on the continuation of the EU’s internal agenda but also increasingly on the EU’s external role as a global actor, as it works to find its place in an increasingly turbulent world, with particular focus on its relationship with the US and China, as well as its efforts to stay on top of the Green Agenda.

Karel Lannoo ​
CEPS Chief Executive Officer









In April 2021, CEPS shared the results of the joint project ‘Big Data and B2B Platforms: The Next Big Opportunity for Europe’ on how to accelerate the growth of the data-based economy and support the development of B2B platforms in Europe in two sectors: automotive and healthcare. This study was complemented by policy recommendations to the EU and national policymakers to ensure that the full potential of new mobility applications is tapped.



CEPS contributed to the EU’s annual Green Week by organising a circular economy webinar entitled ‘Traceability across circular value chains: How to unlock its potential and mitigate challenges?’ The webinar addressed how the lack of visibility regarding flows of materials and their sustainability impact can limit the opportunities for the development of a circular economy.



CEPS Senior Fellow Andrea Renda was a panellist at the European Business Summit 2021 on the theme of Artificial Intelligence, together with Eva Kaili, Member of the European Parliament and Lucilla Sioli, Director for Digital Industry at DG Communications, Content and Technology (CONNECT).

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Presentation by CEPS Director of Research Steven Blockmans and co-authors of their study on ‘Extraterritorial Sanctions on Trade and Investments and European Responses’ to the European Parliament’s International Trade (INTA) Committee. The report’s findings lent support to MEP Bernd Lange’s Draft Opinion on the future of EU-US relations.



In May 2021, Willem Pieter de Groen, CEPS Senior Research Fellow and Head of the Financial Markets and Institutions unit, presented the findings of a study on ‘The largest 50 beneficiaries in each EU Member State of CAP and Cohesion Funds’ in front of the European Parliament’s Budgetary Control (CONT) committee. Based on the analysis of more than 12 million beneficiaries of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) in 2018 and 2019 and around 600 000 beneficiaries receiving cohesion funds between 2014 and 2020, the CEPS research team identified the largest direct and ultimate beneficiaries of EU funds. Learn more

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Sergio Carrera, CEPS Senior Research Fellow and Head of Justice and Home Affairs unit, and CEPS researcher Roberto Cortinovis presented the key findings and recommendations of a study for the European Parliament of all legislative proposals accompanying the EU Pact on Migration and Asylum
to the Parliament’s Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) committee. Specifically, the study provides a detailed assessment of all the legislative proposals in light of their legal coherency, the EU principle of solidarity and fundamental rights.



Christian Egenhofer, CEPS Associate Senior Research Fellow moderated a session with Beatriz Yordi, Director at the European Commission’s DG Climate Action (CLIMA) on the reform of the European Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) at the International Emission Trading Association’s European Climate Summit.


Our exceptional in-house research capacity allows us to publish over 100 publications per year, ranging across 16 policy topics. We provide expert insights and policy analysis through our state-of-the-art research and we’re constantly looking ahead to the next big challenges facing Europe. Our in-brief commentaries offer timely and succinct analysis on the current events and hot topics dominating the newsfeeds, whilst our longer policy papers help readers to truly understand the latest developments in Europe and their consequences. 


CEPS Gender & Diversity initiative

On 8 March, CEPS launched its own Parity Pledge, as part of our ongoing ‘Sustainable Diversity Goals (SDGs) initiative. The pledge aims to show our commitment to gender equality and sets ambitious targets to help promote equality and diversity in all policy events. We commit to taking an active role in transforming Brussels’ policy landscape to make women’s voices heard and female experts more visible.

Industrial Policy Task Force

In November 2020, CEPS launched a new and ambitious Task Force on post-pandemic EU industrial policy that would contribute towards a resilient and sustainable post-pandemic recovery.

In June 2021, we released an executive summary which contains the main findings of the 24 Working Group meetings of the Task Force. Nine thematic reports dedicated to each Working Group were published between June and September 2021.

CEPS EurLex dataset

The CEPS EurLex dataset was awarded ‘Best Poster Award for Open Science’ at the 2021 PolMeth Europe Conference. The CEPS EurLex dataset contains 142 036 EU laws – almost the entire corpus of the EU’s digitally available legal acts passed between 1952 and 2019. The dataset is designed to be a free, public resource for researchers analysing the EU’s legal aquis. The award demonstrates the real demand from the research community for open datasets and we cordially invite researchers and practitioners to make creative use of our multi-purpose dataset.


CEPS seniors met in Dolce La Hulpe on Friday 2 July to reconnect after a year and a half of teleworking. This was the third annual retreat for senior researchers and staff to discuss CEPS’ strategic direction, future areas of research, the collaboration between units and important issues affecting the organisation.


This year’s Ideas Lab took place in an unprecedented context. Together, we managed to adapt to an ever-changing environment and make this first fully digital experience a success. Over the five days, more than 100 high-level speakers discussed a wide range of topical issues: from the European Green Deal to Europe’s industrial future and the economic recovery. They debated with our 1 200 participants, without whom this experience would not have been the same.

Policy Contributions

In 2021, CEPS published more than 119 publications, including over 30 policy contributions and studies on issues including the Pushbacks at the EU’s External Borders with Belarus, inflation in Europe, fiscal rules, energy costs, EU-China relations, the Recovery and Resilience Facility of the EU and much more!


Horizon 2020 is the biggest EU Research and Innovation programme ever with over EUR 95 billion of funding available over seven years (2021 to 2027). It promises more breakthroughs, discoveries and world-firsts by taking great ideas from the lab to the market. CEPS is proud to participate in 15 Horizon 2020 projects in 2021-2022. We also aim to seize every opportunity available through the new Horizon Europe programme over the coming months and years.

Our Three Year Plan


Build up financial stability through a strong base of long-term multiannual projects, combined with shorter, fee-based projects.  


Improve the research process to better anticipate policy challenges, identify research priorities and ensure the quality of research methodology. 


Enhance digital communications, increase the impact of research and policy outputs in the media, and consolidate the CEPS brand. 


Acquire and perform new research and policy advisory projects in strategic areas for EU policy making.

2021 Income Sources

Financial Overview and Outlook

CEPS’ revenue comes from a wide variety of sources, which is fundamental to maintaining our independence. We also coordinate several projects funded by many EU entities. In 2021 almost 50.6 % of our net revenues came from EU calls for tenders and EU grants. We received a further 16.93 % for memberships from a diverse group of corporations and institutions, that appreciate our insights. The remaining income was generated through projects with private organisations (10.8 %), national governments (7 %) and foundations (4 %). An additional 7 % of CEPS’ income is generated through the organisation of events, such as the Ideas Lab, and from projects for other EU agencies. This breakdown does not include revenue earmarked for CEPS’ partners in projects.

CEPS Members

As the only think tank in Europe covering nearly all EU policy areas, CEPS is in a unique position to provide a 360-degree viewpoint on any policy proposal and we are also able to identify potential synergies and cross-cutting implications.

Institutional Members

Designed for international institutions, multinational corporations and other large and medium-sized companies, our corporate membership gives access to state-of-the-art research and participation in a dynamic forum for networking and exchanging ideas.

Corporate members

CEPS offers its institutional membership to diplomatic missions and embassies, trade associations, NGOs, universities and regional offices.

Individual Members

CEPS designed an Individual Membership category for individual academics, politicians, government officials, and executives.

About CEPS

Founded in Brussels in 1983, CEPS is a leading think tank and forum for debate on EU affairs, ranking among the top ten non-US think tanks. With an exceptionally strong in-house research capacity and an extensive network of partner institutes throughout the world, CEPS has amply demonstrated its ability to anticipate trends and to analyse policy questions well before they become topics of general discussion.

 At CEPS, researchers perform policy research on a wide range of policy areas: from the economy and finance to better regulation, the digital economy and trade, as well as energy and climate, education and innovation, foreign policy and the European integration process, or justice and home affairs.


Centre for European Policy Studies
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