Introducing a TEPSA Member Institute: Federal Trust for Education and Research (United Kingdom)

federal_trust_logoAbout The Federal Trust

The Federal Trust is a think tank that aims to enlighten public debate on issues arising from the interaction of national, European and global levels of government. Its statutes state that it should promote ‘studies in the principles of international relations, international justice and supranational government.’ Founded in 1945 on the initiative of Sir William Beveridge, it has always had a particular interest in the European Union and Britain’s place in it. The Federal Trust has no allegiance to any political party. It is registered as a charity for the purposes of education and research.

Structure and Composition

In addition to the Director and small administrative staff, the Trust has one permanent post-doctoral researcher, works with four Senior Research Fellows in their areas of specific expertise, and enjoys excellent relationships with a wide range of academics and specialists from the commercial and political worlds.  The Trust’s work is guided by its Council of 29 members, many of whom contribute on an ad hoc basis to the Trust’s projects.  The Federal maintains close links with like-minded partner organisations, with whom it collaborates on a project basis.

Projects and Activities

The Trust’s current main research interests are the governance of the Eurozone, democracy in the European Union and the British Coalition government’s European policy.

Throughout 2012 and 2013 the Federal Trust ran two consecutive conference series on the British Coalition’s policy on Europe, entitled “The Coalition after the Honeymoon” and “On the Edge: Britain on the European Sidelines?” respectively. These projects were co-funded by the European Commission Representation in London and led to the publication of two pamphlets: “There May be Trouble Ahead” (May 2012) and “Over the Edge? Britain on the European sidelines” (May 2013). In October 2012 the Federal Trust organised a major conference on European industrial policy, which led to the publication of a report in December under the title “Getting Europe Moving Together”, also supported by the European Commission Representation in the UK.

The Federal Trust is currently organising a joint project entailing three seminars and a final report with the Konrad-Adenauer-Foundation in London on the topic of “Multi-Speed Europe”. Other occasional conferences have recently included one on “The Referendum – Friend or Enemy of European Integration?” with Professor Richard Rose of University of Strathclyde (June 2013), and an event with Andrew Duff MEP “On Governing Europe” in January 2013.

The Federal Trust has been a long-standing member of TEPSA and as such has been a partner in pan-European projects such as EU-CONSENT and the current LISBOAN project. The Trust sent out in December 2012 a questionnaire to all its partner organisations in TEPSA asking for their responses to a number of specific questions about the possibility of the United Kingdom’s leaving the European Union. Their answers formed the basis of a TEPSA publication in February 2013, “Britain and the EU – views of members of the TEPSA network”.

The Trust continuously contributes to the European debate in the UK. Jointly with Lord Hugh Dykes, the Director, Brendan Donnelly, published last year a book “On the Edge,” dealing with a range of European issues of particular controversy in the United Kingdom.  The Director regularly writes for various outlets on such topics as the European budget, the Conservative Party’s policy towards Europe, the future of the euro and European democracy.  The Trust also published in 2012 briefing papers by Anja Lansbergen of Edinburgh University on European citizenship (April 2012) and by John Bruton, the former Irish Prime Minister, entitled “What would happen if Britain left the EU?” (November 2012). The Trust’s Researcher Dr. Andrew Blick published the pamphlet “Neither in nor out: Coalition policy on the EU Area of Freedom, Security and Justice” (January 2012). Political events later in the year, notably the Home Secretary’s suggestion that she favoured a general British opt out from as much Justice and Home Affairs legislation as possible, have emphasized the timeliness and relevance of this pamphlet.

Up-to-date information about the activities of the Federal Trust, including the above mentioned publications, is available on our website: