The Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung is a founder member of the European Network of Political Foundations (ENOP), a network of more than 55 political foundations from more than 20 Member States and candidate countries. Its members have close ties to the five major political groups with representation in the European Parliament, but are independent of them. ENOP serves as an instrument of communication between its member foundations and the EU institutions. Its task is to facilitate the transfer of foundations’ expertise in the areas of development cooperation, the promotion of democracy and political dialogue in the EU institutions (e.g. through participation in EU mechanisms for consultation with civil society actors) and to train its members to cooperate successfully in EU projects (e.g. through an information service on EU tenders, training on completing applications). ENOP was founded in 2006, has a secretariat in Brussels and has been co-financed by the EU since 2009. The EU Office of the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung in Brussels represents social democratic foundations in the ENOP Steering Committee.
The European Network of Social Democratic Foundations (ENSOF) is a group of currently 17 social democratic foundations, think tanks, scientific institutes and networks from the EU and accession countries that was formed as part of the development of ENOP. ENSOF coordinates the social democratic member foundations of ENOP. ENSOF offers a platform for exchanges of ideas and experience among its members from the new and old EU Member States and the accession countries, in particular with the aim of strengthening the capacities of the newer foundations. ENSOF also conducts joint advisory and analysis projects to provide a social democratic contribution on current EU policy issues. ENSOF is coordinated by the EU Office in Brussels.
A distinction should be made between the European networks of foundations and the political foundations at European level (or European party foundations). These are organisations or networks of organisations that are linked to a political party at European level. They are co-financed by the EU and are engaged in monitoring, analysis, communication and contributing to discussion with the primary aim of bringing Europe closer to its citizens. The following party foundations were founded in 2008: the Foundation for European Progressive Studies-FEPS; the Centre for European Studies–CES, the European Liberal Forum–ELF; the Green European Institute-GEI; Transform! The European Network for Alternative Thinking and Political Dialogue. The Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung is a member of the FEPS (www.feps-europe.eu).