The Berggruen Institute is dedicated to the design and implementation of new ideas of good governance -- drawing from practices in both East and West -- that can be brought to bear on the common challenges of globalization in the 21st century.

We are an independent, non-partisan “think and action tank” that engages cutting edge entrepreneurs, global thinkers and political leaders from around the world as key participants in our projects.

The great transition of our time is from American-led globalization 1.0 to the interdependence of plural identities that characterizes globalization 2.0 as the dominance of the West recedes with the rise of the rest. A political and cultural awakening, amplified by social media, is part and parcel of this shift, and good governance must respond by devolving power and involving citizens more meaningfully in governing their communities. At the same time, we believe that accountable institutions must be created that can competently manage the global links of interdependence.

21st Century Council

A forum for dialogue and action on global governance, emphasizing the G-20 as the governing body of globalization. Members include former heads of state, global entrepreneurs and political thinkers.

Council for the Future of Europe

This Council gathers a small group of the region's most eminent political figures to research, debate and advocate ways forward for a united Europe.

Think Long Committee for California

Advocates a comprehensive approach to repairing California's broken system of governance while proposing policies and institutions vital for the state's long-term future.

Recent Activity
28 February 2014

At our “Project Europe” town hall, which took place in Madrid on February 27-28, European leaders from public and private sectors and the media gathered to discuss the issues most pressing to the European economic climate, including youth unemployment, investment and jobs, labor mobility, and migration – as well as populism and the upcoming 2014 European Parliamentary elections.

The meeting was headlined by Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, Portuguese Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho and recently resigned Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta.


Rajoy, Passos Coelho, and Letta at the “Project Europe” Town Hall

Former Director-General of the WTO and Council for the Future of Europe member Pascal Lamy introduced the conference with a call for European leaders to tackle “the three key deficits in the European Union today – growth, governance, and belonging.”


Pascal Lamy introducing the Town Hall

Following this introduction, Enrico Letta – Prime Minister of Italy until two weeks ago – made his first public comments since leaving office. He warned the town hall that the rise of populism, fueled as it may be by real concerns over immigration and youth unemployment, would not lead Europe out of its crisis. "They are only against," he said, "but offer no alternatives." Letta raised the specter of populist parties gaining a significant share of votes in the European Parliament elections in May, and bringing the kind of "filibuster politics" we have seen from Washington to Europe.


Former Italian Prime Minister Letta warned against the rise of populism

He called for all pro-Europeans to band together to provide a real alternative so that the "flag of Europe is the flag of the future."

Later that evening, Letta’s predecessor Mario Monti, chair of our Council for the Future of Europe, participated in a “fireside chat” with former Spanish Prime Minister Felipe Gonzalez to discuss a roadmap for Europe. In his remarks, Monti called upon "France to become France again" and stop being "timid" in its approach to Europe.


Felipe González, Mario Monti, and Nicolas Berggruen before Day 1 of the Town Hall

Also featured on the first day of the town hall were two panels and a speech from Luis de Guindos on the future of the Eurozone. The first panel - “Europe’s Top Priority: Investment and Jobs”- was moderated by Jose Ignacio Torreblanca of the European Council on Foreign Relations, and included Magdalena Alvarez Arza, Vice President of the European Investment Bank; Giuseppi Recchi, the Chairman of ENI; Pierre Blayau, the Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Areva; David Bonderman, the Chairman of TGI Capital and member of the Council for the Future of Europe; and Jacob von Weizsacker, Head of Department, Thuringian Economics Ministry.

A second panel, moderated by Maria Casado, focused on “Migration, Labor Mobility and Youth Unemployment”, and included Jörg Asmussen, State Secretary at the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs; Peter Sutherland, UN Secretary General’s Special Representative for Migration & Development; Marina del Corral, Secretary General of Immigration and Emigration, Spain; and Ignacio Fernández Toxo, President of the European Trade Union Confederation.

Nicolas Berggruen opened Day 2 of the Town Hall

The second day of the conference opened with an introduction from Nicolas Berggruen, in which he said that the three pillars of Europe – the single market, economic integration and the free movement of people – are all being challenged.

Following these remarks, Portuguese Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho addressed the town hall on the subject of Portugal’s future. He argued that completing a European banking union was of utmost importance to mend fragmented financial markets that are depriving Europe’s southern countries of the affordable credit they need to grow.

His plea was echoed by Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, who gave the town hall’s closing keynote. Rajoy said that, now that Spain is over the worst of the financial crisis and headed toward recovery, Europe should not be complacent, but move forward quickly toward fiscal and, ultimately, political union.

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano gave the closing keynote at the town hall

Prime Minister Rajoy also told the town hall that the Council for the Future of Europe “has become the benchmark in reflection and debate on the future of the project of European integration.”

The second day also featured two very robust panels. The first, chaired by Sylvie Goulard, focused on populism and the upcoming European Parliamentary elections with candidates representing all parties. During the panel, Guy Verhofstadt – former Prime Minister of Belgium, President of ALDE, and member of the Council for the Future of Europe – criticized the isolationist streak of populism. "How can we solve global issues by hiding behind our borders?” he asked. “All challenges are transnational." Michel Barnier, vice-president of the European People's Party, argued that pro-Europeans must respond with a positive vision of Europe to the real concerns of populists -- youth unemployment and jobs, immigration, bureaucracy and red tape in Brussels, and the lack of democratic legitimacy of European institutions. The panel also included Monica Frassoni, Co-chair of the European Green Party; Alfredo Pérez Rubalcaba, Secretary General of the Spanish Socialists Workers’ Party; and Iñigo Méndez de Vigo, Minister of European Affairs. 

Pablo Isla and César Alierta in their panel on Spanish competitiveness

In a panel on Spanish competitiveness, Pablo Isla, Chairman of Inditex, and César Alierta, Executive Chairman of Telefónica, both warned that the economy’s recovery from the recession was not enough to produce jobs and long-term growth in Europe. Facing the advances of digital technology and competition from the US and China, Europe must make the tough structural changes in labor markets and regulation in order to become competitive again.

The entire proceedings were streamed live on The WorldPost, which can be seen here (Day 1) and here (Day 2). Comments by Rajoy, Passos Coelho, Monti and Letta can also be found on The WorldPost.


25 February 2014

The Berggruen Institute on Governance, in partnership with the Government of Spain, will host "Project Europe", an international conference about the future of Europe in Madrid on 27-28 February 2014. 

The event will bring together leading thinkers from Europe and across the globe to  to discuss issues pertaining to the European economic climate - including youth unemployment, investment and jobs, labor mobility, and migration - as well as populism and the upcoming 2014 European Parliamentary elections. The event is being organized by BIG's Council for the Future of Europe (CFE).

Featured speakers for the event will include, among others:

  • Prime Minister of Spain Mariano Rajoy
  • Prime Minister of Portugal Pedro Passos Coelho
  • Former Prime Minister of Italy Enrico Letta
  • Former Prime Minister of Italy and Chair of the Council for the Future of Europe Mario Monti
  • Former Prime Minister of Spain Felipe González
  • Former Director-General of the World Trade Organization Pascal Lamy

Among many others.

You can view the agenda for the conference here. You will be able to follow the conference via live stream in English on the main page of The WorldPost and in Spanish on El Pais. We would love to hear from you, so please join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter with the hashtag #BIGProEU.

22 January 2014

Launch of The WorldPost(L-R) Nathan Gardels, Arianna Huffington, Nicolas Berggruen, and Peter Goodman at the launch of The WorldPost in Davos

DAVOS - On January 22 at the World Economic Forum, we launched The WorldPost, our new joint online publication with the Huffington Post that brings together an unparalleled group of contributors from diverse countries, backgrounds, and perspectives. For pictures from the launch, click here.
Through the political and policy clout and global programs of the Berggruen Institute and the distribution power, state-of-the-art media platform, news, features and investigative reporting of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Huffington Post, The WorldPost is on its way to becoming an entirely new and influential force on the global media landscape.  

In our first few weeks since publication we have sought to live up to our mission with content that has spanned a broad range of subjects and voices, including Chrystia FreelandBranko Milanovic, and Tom Friedman on our economy; interviews with President Xi Jinping and Zbigniew Brzezinski on China; Milind Deora and Eric Schmidt on technology and social media; Yo-Yo MaJonathan Franzen, and Orhan Pamuk on arts and literature; and Patrick Soon-Shiong on medicine.

The WorldPost was born from a contradiction and a paradox. The contradiction is that, just as we have become more globally interdependent than ever, our media is re-nationalizing, reclocalizing and even tribalizing. There are ever fewer voices heard across boundaries. This leads to the paradox that we risk the information age becoming the age of non-communication.  

The WorldPost is meant to address this by connecting the world and connecting the dots. Creating a platform where the whole world can meet -- a platform that does not have a national perspective looking out, but a global one looking around. You can follow The WorldPost on Facebook and Twitter.