European Foundation for Democracy


The European Foundation for Democracy (EFD) is a Brussels and Berlin-based policy institute that has been working with civil society, academic, governmental and other stakeholders on the prevention of radicalisation for more than a decade. Through our work with these organisations and groups, EFD’s goal is to ensure that the universal values of the Enlightenment – political pluralism, respect for individual rights, government by democracy – remain the founding precepts of European security and prosperity.

Analysis & Events


A Guide to Refuting Jihadism – Critiquing radical Islamist claims to theological authenticity

Al-Qa’ida, Hamas and Lashkar-e-Ta’iba claim that their violent actions are supported within the four traditional schools of Sunni Islamic jurisprudence, and that traditional Islam itself mandates a jihadist view of scripture. A Guide to Refuting Jihadism counters these theological claims by demonstrating that their arguments are not based on Islamic consensus or traditionally recognised interpretations of classical Islamic sources.

Press Release

EFD is disseminating a ‘Guide to Refuting Jihadism’

As part of our longstanding efforts to support European Muslims who are countering radical Islam, EFD is disseminating A Guide to Refuting Jihadism within Muslim communities in Britain and Europe. The guide presents scripturally sound theological arguments that contradict core tenets of jihadist beliefs.


After Geneva: what’s next for Iran’s nuclear programme?

EFD hosted French nuclear non-proliferation expert Bruno Tertrais for briefings on Iran’s interim nuclear deal with the E3/EU+3. Bruno Tertrais, who is a senior fellow at the Paris-based Fondation pour la Recherche Stratégique, described the deal as ‘Not Munich, but not Camp David either.’ He explained that the interim agreement is ‘… not historic or even well written and will


The new Iran: all change or just more of the same?

EFD fellow Anna Borshchevskaya notes in her latest op-ed for Al-Arabiya that “Diplomacy cannot succeed so long as the Iranian regime is driven by an ideology that, at its core, is in an existential conflict with liberal democratic values”. Video footage captured by Syrian rebels suggests that Iran’s involvement in the Syrian conflict goes beyond sending advisors


Comparing US and EU approaches to counter radicalisation

On 25 September, EFD hosted a series of closed-door and public briefings where EU and US officials discussed their approaches to countering radicalisation and how to address this threat. The Ambassadors of Kenya and Somalia to the EU attended our closed-door briefing along with over 30 high-level EU and non-EU diplomats. Our briefing at the European Parliament, hosted by a German MEP, and our media briefing, were similarly well attended.


After the presidential elections in Iran: are sanctions working?

On 10 July 2013, the European Foundation for Democracy and the Centre for European Studies hosted a panel debate on the extent that international sanctions against Iran are working, as intended, following the presidential elections. The guest speakers were Dr. Emanuele Ottolenghi, Senior Fellow at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies in Washington, DC and MEP Lena Kolarska-Bobińska.


Hisba: Islamic morality policing

Together with MEP Santiago Fisas Ayxela (EPP, Spain), EFD hosted a panel discussion at the European Parliament on hisba, a form of Islamic morality policing, that has appeared in Europe. The occasion marked the launch of EFD’s study, Hisba in Europe authored by Senior Policy Advisor Lorenzo Vidino. The report assesses the prevalence of hisba in a number of European countries


The Iranian presidential elections: plus ça change?

On 18 June 2013, the European Foundation for Democracy hosted a closed-door policy briefing on the recently held presidential elections in Iran. The guest speaker was Mehdi Kalaji, Senior Fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. During the briefing, Mr. Khalaji provided an analysis of the results of the elections, which took place on 14 June. He analysed the decision-making dynamics within the Islamic Republic, focusing on the roles of the supreme leader, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and the President, in this process and assessed the potential implications of Iran’s nuclear policy and regional aspirations in a post-Ahmadinejad era.


New evidence of Iran’s destabilising influence across South America


Effectiveness of Iran sanctions

In co-operation with the Centre for European Studies, EFD hosted a panel discussion on 16th April to assess the effectiveness of international sanctions on Iran. The speakers included Mark Dubowitz, a Washington-based expert who has advised the Obama administration and the U.S. Congress on Iran sanctions and nonproliferation issues and EU sanctions co-ordinator Francesco Fini, of the European External Action Service

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