The European Institute (EI) is an independent policy centre that was founded in 1999 just before Bulgaria started EU membership negotiations. Since its creation the Institute has become one of the leading Bulgarian policy and research centres dealing with matters related to European integration. It has commendable in-house and external expertise combining experienced researchers, academics/educators and practitioners with profound understanding of the process of Europeanization and legal harmonization and compatibility within Member States. Based in Sofia, the Institute has three regional branch offices in the country (Burgas, Ruse and Blagoevgrad), thus interacting and collaborating with universities, schools, professional organizations and local CSOs in other parts of the country.
In the past several years, the European Institute gained considerable project related experience in topics dealing with education, diversity, migration, trafficking, and security issues. The projects in these areas have been implemented through partnership with national and European governmental and non-governmental institutions, as well as with international organizations.
In a wider perspective, the organization is also very active in conducting analytical and research activities in various policy areas of the EU, supports the process of developing recommendations for improving policy effectiveness, initiates and actively participates in the debate on the future of the EU. Since 2008 EI has been part of the EC Europe Direct network, as well as active member of several other networks spanning across Europe, such as European Policy Institutes Network – EPIN (EPIN comprises 39 think tanks and policy institutes working on EU affairs from 26 European countries, including almost all EU member states as well as candidate countries).
EI also enjoys ongoing and efficient collaboration with secondary education institutions all over the country; pupils, teachers and pedagogical specialists are a traditional target group. A number of projects and initiatives were exclusively targeted at young people and pupils, including from ethnic minorities and other vulnerable groups. The Institute has a stable partnership with the biggest and most influential HEIs and research organizations, such as Sofia University, New Bulgarian University, University of Ruse, etc. It has an agreement with Sofia University to host internships for students majoring in European Studies.
EI is well-experienced in communicating and targeting an array of national actors and stakeholders: government bodies and local authorities, community-based organizations, educational institutions, research and academic organizations, NGOs, SMEs, trade unions, end-users, individual citizens, etc. EI also works closely with a number of media partners in promoting events to enhance public awareness and proper dissemination of results and explaining EU policies in different domains.