Going beyond the legislative work and reaching out to other like-minded people in the EU and elsewhere has been the guiding thought behind the creation of each of the EPP Group's Foundations and Networks. Although entrusted with diverse missions, all of them have the task of increasing the space for dialogue in which centre-right ideas can flourish.
European Ideas Network
The European Ideas Network is an open, pan-European think-tank designed to promote new thinking on the key challenges facing the countries of the European Union. The network was launched in the summer of 2002 and has rapidly emerged as an important meeting point and intellectual crossroads for the centre-right in European politics. With an active membership of around 600 policy-makers and opinion-shapers across the European Union, the EIN brings together politicians, businessmen, academics, policy advisers, think-tankers, journalists and representatives of civil society who share a common outlook Europe-wide, as well as external non-party experts and commentators interested in the public policy issues being addressed.
Robert Schuman Foundation
The Robert Schuman Foundation was set up in 1989. The idea of the Foundation came from the German CDU politician Egon A. Klepsch, the then Chairman of the EPP Group, after seeing the need to actively support democracy in Europe. For instance, Klepsch lead Members to Poland while it was still suffering as a result of martial law. Foreseeing democratic changes, an EPP-based foundation was established comprising EPP members to support democracy in Central, South-Eastern and Eastern Europe, as well as in Latin America and Africa. The foundation was later named after the ‘Father of Europe', Robert Schuman. The Foundation offers one-month traineeships in the European Parliament to young people with centre-right values.
Robert Schuman Institute
The 'Union of the Robert Schuman Institute for Developing Democracy in Central and Eastern Europe', or the Robert Schuman Institute, has been functioning since 1995 and offers education and training to active and future politicians of the parties belonging to the family of the European People’s Party, as well as organisesconferences on actual regional issues. The aims of the Robert Schuman Institute are to promote the idea of a united Europe and the basic values of the EPP, to support and foster the process of democratic transformation and the development of civil societies and to contribute to the development of the EPP sister and co-operating parties through education and training.
The Windhoek Dialogue is the EPP Group's African policy initiative, launched in March 1996 in Windhoek, the Capital of Namibia, with five African parties from Anglophone countries in Southern and East Africa. The idea behind the Windhoek Dialogue is to develop a network for cooperation, not only between the EPP Group and its African partners, but also among the African political parties themselves; to create a forum where like-minded African parties and Members of the EPP Group in the European Parliament could meet and exchange ideas and best practice on good governance, democratic practices, sustainable development and regional cooperation.
The common values defining our cooperation include respect for human rights and freedoms, the social market economy and the rule of law based on the separation of powers and multi-party democracy, with free and fair elections supporting the principle of subsidiarity and, whenever applicable, local and regional autonomy.
To respond to the new dynamics in Africa, notably the creation of successful centre-right parties in countries like Tanzania or Ghana, the New Windhoek Dialogue was launched in November 2015. It builds on the Windhoek Dialogue and reaches out to new partners, beyond the EPP Group’s traditional African partners of the UPADD - Union of African Parties for Democracy and Development.
The Robert Schuman Foundation and the Konrad Adenauer Foundation support this cooperation on a regular basis.