Our policy priorities...
Foreign & Security Policy
Offering actionable ideas on world issues.
Good Governance & Rule of Law
Defending liberal values and the rule of law.
Social Policy & Education
Contributing to reducing social disparities.
Environment & Development
Providing ideas to the key problem of our generation.
A think tank for the next generation
We advance liberal values through wide-ranging actionable policy contributions on salient issues. Our experts and fellows provide a fresh and critical perspective on critical problems affecting Romania and our region. The aim is to provide powerful tools and solutions to policy-makers and to contribute to the democratic debate.
Our projects and programs
Economic Statecraft Initiative
Through our new Economic Statecraft Initiative, we examine the role of economic relations, trade, international capital flows, and energy in foreign and security policy, both in Romania and the European Union. The comprehensive economic measures adopted by the West in the wake of the Russo-Ukrainian war shows the continued salience of economic tools for international relations and geopolitical competition.
We are in the midst of the most important global transition in a generation. The liberal international order is contested from within and without and economic tools prove to be one of the most important instruments in the toolbox of great powers in this competition. By developing comprehensive tools of economic statecraft, great and small powers alike are increasingly able to shape global politics today, seeking to achieve strategic objectives in line with their foreign policy preferences.
Through our Economic Statecraft Initiative, we encourage an open dialogue that aims to better understand the main tools of economic statecraft, the mechanisms through which they operate, how and when are they effective in achieving their state objectives. We aim to provide a platform for policymakers and young professionals to engage in dialogue over salient issues and to discuss differences about economic statecraft in a world defined by strategic competition between the great powers.
What is Economic Statecraft?
Economic statecraft refers to the use of economic, financial, and regulatory tools available to states to pursue and achieve foreign and security policy objectives. As such, economic statecraft seeks to deploy economic connection, capital flows, state and international regulatory frameworks and institutions to achieve strategic interests of nation-states. These have been increasingly deployed by great powers, such as the United States and the European Union, to achieve their aims, such as the protection of the liberal international order or punish norm violation by other great or small powers.
The effectiveness of economic tools for foreign and security policy objectives has been long debated by scholars and practitioners. Economic statecraft comes with costs and benefits and the effectiveness of economic tools for geopolitical competition is not a given. The key challenge is to develop and calibrate economic tools that can increase their effectiveness in achieving their political outcomes and to limit the economic side effects in terms of economic inefficiency, lower economic growth, and instability.
The European Union and the United States have been the key actors relying on economic statecraft, deploying economic, financial and monetary sanctions, export controls, investment screening, regulation of capital markets, and increasingly the use of price caps. These are the key tools of economic statecraft but states are increasingly inovative in developing new tools.
The activities of our Economic Statecraft Initiative are focused across two dimensions. First, we support policy-relevant research on tools of economic statecraft, their implications for world trade, the impact on small and medium-sized states, and the effectiveness of existing tools. Second, we sponsor webinars and policy events with key stakeholders and experts to present and discuss the latest research and policy output on topics related to economic statecraft.
Romania in the World
The “Romania in the World” Initiative seeks to map Romania’s relations with the key regions and great powers in the world today. In a world defined by great upheavals, geopolitical competition, a multiplicity of converging crises, Romania’s foreign and security policy deserves to be revisited. The key premise behind the Initiative is that current Romanian foreign and security policy is not up to the task and one of the key issues are related to preference formulation. The process through which Romania defines its regional, bilateral, and specific preferences vis-a-vis current events and actors is broken. The country often does not have a well specified position and set of preferences on key issues and in relation with key actors.
Beyond the strategic trinity of objectives (US, NATO, EU) and two general aims (security and status), the country has often been unable to take clear and well-informed positions regarding even neighbouring regions and issues. Way too often, Romania is reactive and simply adopts the latest position issued in Brussels and Washington, instead of investing in a process of reflection and preference-definition. We seek to correct this issue by supporting and publishing cutting edge reflective and policy-actionable analyses on Romania’s position in the world and what should the country seek to achieve in relation to key regions and great powers.
The policy output of the “Romania in the World” initiative is guided by three overarching questions:
- What are the current relations of Romania with key regions and actors in world politics? What are current struggles, issues, and positive aspects of these relations?
- What should Romania seek to achieve in relation with key regions and great powers? In a gist: what should be Romania’s preferences/interests vis-a-vis these actors/regions?
- How should Romania achieve those preferences/interests? What tools and frameworks should be developed, updated, or changed to achieve the identified preferences/interests?
Our mission statement
We are committed to pluralistic and open dialogue on substantive and salient policy issues and ideas. We seek to engage contrasting but well developed policy stances, grounded in distinct ideological and normative commitments.
While we understand that policy ideas and regulations cannot be value-free and need to be driven by normative commitments, we seek to advance independent, nonpartisan policy ideas that do not seek to promote partisan interests.
We are committed to develop and provide ideas that whose implementation yields concrete benefits to society and public policy.
We promote new voices on key policy issues. People that have the skills, expertise, and vision to promote alternative solutions to the status quo.
Our latest policy ideas
Marius Ghincea, Program Director for the Institute's Foreign and Security Policy Cluster published a highly circulated analysis on the state...
Lowering the voting age at 16 years old has just recently entered the national debate in Romania, with a new...
by Marius Ghincea, The LoopNovember 7, 2022 As we enter a new period of great power competition, small powers across...