About the Five Freedoms Project

Uniting Europe’s people and markets

Europe needs a single and simple market. The Five Freedoms Project is solely dedicated to making Europe’s economy united by advancing the freedom of people and commerce to make their way in Europe. It builds on Europe’s core four freedoms for goods, service, people and capital to move freely within Europe – and it adds data, the artery of the modern economy.

Why is the Five Freedoms Project started?

On current trend, there will not be a European Union in the future. Fractions and frictions dominate the European political agenda. Europe’s five freedoms have routinely been ignored and are now increasingly threatened. The crisis ushered in protectionism and defensive mentalities, embracing chances to curtail Europe’s freedoms rather than welcoming opportunities to expand them. In many parts of Europe, leaders and voters are pushing policies to the breaking point for Europe’s core freedoms. Far too many are closing their minds to the open society. We have to change Europe’s trend, otherwise there will not be a EU in the future. Europe’s economy thrives through its cross-border networks and interactions – and stagnation in the project to expand the five freedoms diminishes dynamism and prosperity.

What will the Five Freedoms Project do?

The Five Freedoms Project is a think tank project dedicated to build a full, free and simpler market in Europe. Housed at ECIPE, an independent think tank, the Five Freedoms Project will be based in Brussels and will combine the practical experience of business with policy analysis in order to propose real and workable initiatives to expand the five freedoms. Like other think tank projects, it will publish studies and host events. We are different from others in two ways. First, our only focus is uniting Europe’s people and markets through a single and simple market in Europe. Second, we will work with bottom-up projects, starting from real obstacles facing people and entrepreneurs in Europe that want to use the freedoms, not with the latest iteration of EU legislation.

Why is there an emphasis on a simple market?

Many of the freedoms to trade and move in Europe are aspirations rather than real. For the five freedoms to really empower the economy, the barriers to using them have to be reduced. A single and simple market in Europe needs regulation, but regulation is too often designed without respect for the five freedoms and makes cross-border mobility too complicated.

Who runs the Five Freedoms Project?

The Five Freedoms Project has an Advisory Board with highly respected individuals that will give direction to the Project. The Advisory Board is chaired by Jacob Wallenberg. Fredrik Erixon, the founder of ECIPE, will run the Five Freedoms Project and progressively build up its operation in Brussels. The Project is funded by ECIPE and through grants from Investor and the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise. It welcomes financial and intellectual support from friends of the five freedoms.

  • Jacob Wallenberg, Chairman – Chairman of Investor and member of the Board of Directors of several companies, e.g. ABB and Ericsson
  • Peter Sutherland – Former European Commissioner and Director of the World Trade Organisation
  • Anna Diamantopoulou – A former European Commissioner and Greek Minister who now heads network DIKTYO, Richard von Weizsäcker Fellow, Robert Bosch Academy
  • Peter Thiel – Entrepreneur and venture capitalist
  • Clara Gaymard – Chief Executive Officer of General Electric France and Vice President of GE International
  • Beatrice Weder di Mauro – Professor of Economics at the Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz, and member of the Board of Directors for UBS Group, Roche Holding, and Robert Bosch
  • Pascal Lamy – Former European Commissioner and Director General of the World Trade Organisation