June 11, 2016 Print

The inaugural Europe Liberty Forum, held June 8–9 in London and co-hosted by the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA), focused on spreading the ideas of freedom to millions in the United Kingdom, Europe, and beyond. “Think tanks should make life of all established political parties uncomfortable,” said Member of Parliament Douglas Carswell to an audience of more than 120 attendees. “And the digital revolution is important in empowering consumers and promoting free markets.”

The conference featured sessions that give think tanks the tools to more effectively share their ideas, especially highlighting the role of digital communications, journalism, and branding. “Good ideas are just as cheap as bad ideas,” said Glynn Brailsford, creative director at the IEA.


Linda Whetstone, chairman of Network for a Free Society (United Kingdom).

“Friends of liberty need to become the cool alternative,” said European Students for Liberty’s Yaël Ossowski, brainstorming how think tanks can reframe policy debates to win new audiences.


Dr. Stephen Davies, head of education for the Institute of Economic Affairs (United Kingdom), exploring the world of metapolitics and theories of social change.

“Paternalistic policies have been on the rise across Europe in recent years, supported by parties across the political spectrum, said Diego Zuluaga, financial services research fellow at the Institute of Economic Affairs and deputy director of EPICENTER. “Yet, government regulation of individuals’ lifestyles constrains choice and undermines personal responsibility. Furthermore, it is unclear that nanny-state policies actually achieve their stated aims of health improvement.”


Dr. Alberto Mingardi (Istituto Bruno Leoni, Italy); Dr. Richard Durana, (INESS, Slovakia; Linda Whetstone (Network for a Free Society, United Kingdom); Tarren Bragdon (Foundation for Government Accountability, United States); and Mark Littlewood (Institute of Economic Affairs, United Kingdom), sharing the secrets of success and the pitfalls that must be overcome in “Think Tank CEOs Share Lessons Learned.”


“Always be hiring.” Advice from Joseph G. Lehman, president of the Michigan-based Mackinac Center for Public Policy, in a session on finding, nurturing, and developing talent.

At the gala dinner, participants heard from historian Johan Norberg, author of In Defense of Global Capitalism, who inspired the crowd with a speech reminding them that independent think tanks must play a role in checking the dangerous trend toward illiberal populism.


Dr. Tom G. Palmer (Atlas Network, United States); Petar Ganev (Institute for Market Economics, Bulgaria); Matt Warner (Atlas Network, United States); Clarence Crafoord (Centre for Justice, Sweden); Zoran Low (Lipa – Croatian Taxpayers Association, Croatia); Alex Chafuen (Atlas Network, United States); and Brad Lips (Atlas Network, United States).

The conference concluded with the announcement of the winner of the inaugural Europe Liberty Award: Sweden-based Centre for Justice (Centrum för rättvisa) for its “Litigating for Individual Liberty and Fundamental Rights” project: “The Nordic Individual Rights Revolution.”