Stockholm Network/History

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The history of the Stockholm Network

The history of the Stockholm Network began with its founding in September 1997[1][2] by Helen Disney, [3] a British journalist and policy specialist, and initially managed by the Swedish think tank, Timbro.[4] Disney had landed a job with the pro market think tank the Social Market Foundation in 1996, a year after gaining an undergraduate degree at Bristol University in languages. It was while she was at the SMF that the Stockholm Network was created and launched. In early versions of the SN website the SMF is listed as one of four 'main groups' of the network along with Timbro (Sweden), Paradigmes (France) and The Centre for the New Europe (a pan-European think tank based in Brussels, Belgium).[5]An alternative account on the Public Partners website describes how the network was "founded in collaboration" with six other institutes, these institutes include the four main groups from the SN website but add the Edmund Burke Foundation (Netherlands) and the Circulos de Empresarios (Spain).[6]

1997 The Beginning of the Stockholm Network

Helen Disney gave the following account of the Stockholm Network's background in an edit to the SN Wikipedia entry:

The network of free-market European think tanks known as the Stockholm Network (SN) was founded in 1997 by Helen Disney, a former journalist and Deputy Director of the Social Market Foundation. It began with a small staff of 3 people including Nicole Gray Conchar who had previously worked as a fundraiser for numerous think tanks including the Cato Institute and the International Policy Network (IPN)[7].

In the Stockholm Network's 2006-2007 annual report, Helen Disney gives an overview of the first 10 years of the Stockholm Network where she reflects:

In many ways, the challenges remain the same as they did ten years ago, how to maximise economic growth, how to reform and modernise welfare systems for the consumer age and how to create a knowledge economy. But new problems have also arisen including energy security, climate change, the tension between intellectual property and competition and, indeed, how large the European Union could and should become. The Stockholm Network's focus over the last 10 years has adapted to reflect and respond to these challenges. From an initial focus broadly on economic and welfare-state reform, we now have three core programs of activity, covering the original health and welfare area, but also new programs dedicated to intellectual property and competition, and energy and the environment.[8]

Catherine Windels who previously worked for the Heritage Foundation and was part of the Reagan administration helped to fund the Stockholm Network according to her profile on the Galen Institute website. Windels worked for pharmaceutical giant Pfizer for 22 years during which time she 'helped create new think tanks and networks of think tanks in Europe, Canada, Africa and Asia, as well as working closely with many leading institutes in the US'.[9] Paul Belien of the conservative Brussels Journal describes Windels as the 'godmother of think tanks', he describes how, in her role at Pfizer she was instrumental in setting up several think tank networks:

American pharmaceutical company Pfizer, which has a philosophy of supporting young people with new initiatives through the good care of Catherine Windels.[10]

The earliest references to Stockholm Network activity come in the form of a 1999 report by the Heritage Foundation.[11] The report references three Stockholm Network conferences as footnotes, the conferences are as follows:

  • Kurt Wickman, "Is Harmonization of Tax Policies Between EU Countries a Good Idea," Stockholm Network Conference, March 1999.
  • David Smith, "Will Tax Harmonization Harm Job Creation," A European Harmony, Stockholm Network Conference, May 8, 1999.
  • John Burton, "Going Underground," Stockholm Network Conference, December 1999.[12]

The Network's first paper, Millennium Doom: Fallacies about the end of work was published by the Social Market Foundation in February 1999.[13]

2001-2003 Stockholm Network based at Civitas

From 2001 the network became part of Civitas, which was formerly known as the Health and Welfare Unit of the Institute for Economic Affairs.[14]The original Stockholm Network website was redesigned in 2002 and its contact address was marked as “c/o Civitas”.[15] SN Director Helen Disney had a dual role between 2001 and 2003, she was the co-ordinator of the network which was based at Civitas, and she was also the director of European relations for Civitas[16]. The network left Civitas sometime between 10-October-2003[17] and the 12-December-2003.[18] SN had been based at Civitas offices at The Mezzanine, Elizabeth House, 39 York Rd, London SE1 7NQ[19], they moved to a new office at 35 Britannia Row, London N1 8QH, the first online record of them operating from Britannia row is from the 02-February-2004.[20]

While part of Civitas, in April 2002, the network listed its "current participants" which comprised of the aforementioned main groups Centre for the New Europe, Timbro, Paradigmes, and Civitas.[21] These main groups supplied the patrons and directors of the Stockholm Network[22].

2003-2006 Stockholm Network becomes independent and creates Market House International, The Institute of Economic Affairs Leave the network

In late 2003 Helen Disney and Rick Nye, who worked together at the Social Market Foundation, created the private company Market House International, a Public Relations (PR) consultancy, in order to run the Stockholm Network.[23] Corporate Europe Observatory argue that this move was the beginning of the network being managed independently.[24] The Institute of Economic Affairs left the Stockholm Network in 2005 because "as an educational charity we felt it was inappropriate to be a member of an organisation whose mission we could not control".[25] Paul Staines criticised Market House International in his December 2005 article in The Times, You Want Policy, In Cash?.[26] Two months later the private company Market House International was renamed as the Stockholm Network.[27]

2008-2009 Think tanks leave, join and are expelled

In 2008 the International Policy Network reportedly left the Stockholm Network.[28] The International Policy Network were followed by the Liberalni Institute in January 2009 and the Centre for European Reform sometime after this.[29][30][31] According to an article in the Telegraph, the withdrawals came after the Stockholm Network called for the taxing of search engines to compensate copyright holders whose work can be accessed, without charge, as a result of internet searches. It had also called for greater recognition of 'the importance of wealth transfer' to poor countries in order to fight climate change. In 2009, the Stockholm Network report, The UK Pharmaceutical Industry: Current Challenges and Future Solutions, called for Government funding of the pharmaceutical industry[32].

According to the report on the pharmaceutical industry, written by Ross Carroll and Stuart Carroll, ‘[A] lack of government investment is another factor adversely affecting the UK pharmaceutical industry.’[33] The report, which was a part of the ‘Stockholm Network Experts’ Series’, also called a reduction in the rate of UK corporation tax; tax credits for new product introduction and technological development; and the simplification of ‘taxation rules and reduce the burden of complex legislation and regulation through the utilisation of cutting-edge approaches.’ [34]

The publication was reportedly criticised by other free-market think tanks. According to emails seen by the Telegraph, the head of one said: “The whole thing is mad. I cannot imagine any free market think tank now being able to stay in membership [of the Stockholm Network].” Another claimed:

"As far as I can see this is the end of the Stockholm Network as a network for European free market think tanks. It might however be the opening attempt at some sort of consultancy… Whatever, the whole thing is totally —— up: big time."[35]

The Stockholm Network's owner, Helen Disney contacted the Telegraph criticising the article and arguing that:

The report is far from being in favour of state intervention. In fact, the authors argue for reducing corporation tax, simplifying tax rules and reducing legislation and regulation. The reference to industrial policy concerns ideas for making the UK economy more competitive in global markets. [36]

The Liberalni Institute left the Stockholm Network on the 29th January 2009, shortly after the publication of the report on the UK pharmaceutical industry. They cited their reason for leaving as:

The Academic Advisory Board of the Liberalni institut decided to leave the Stockholm Network on January 29. It is because some recent publications of the SN are not consistent with our deep convictions about the importance of individual freedom and the rule of law. The LI is strongly opposed to the promotion of particular interests of business couched under the heading of liberalism. [37]

The Adam Smith Institute, Libertarian Alliance and Nurses for Reform also left the network in 2009, although according to edits made to Wikipedia by Helen Disney the Libertarian Alliance and Nurses for Reform had their "membership withdrawn",[38][39] Helen Disney withdrew membership from the two organisations because 'I felt we no longer had a shared vision of what the Stockholm Network was trying to achieve'.[40]

Other members who were formerly listed as members of the network but are no longer listed on the SN website include the Globalisation Institute, Project Empowerment, Policy Institute, International Policy Network, David Hume Institute and the Hayek Society.[41]



References

  1. Stockholm Network, Annual Report 2006-2007:10 Years of the Stockholm Network, ISSUU, Accessed 04-May-2010
  2. Opinion Archives, Giving Tanks: Across Europe, thinkers are promoting free-market ideals, The Wall Street Journal, 10-December-2007, Accessed 27-April-2010
  3. Stockholm Network. Stockholm Network: FAQs, Stockholm Network, Accessed 9 April 2010.
  4. The contact address for the Network was given as c/o Timbro by Pfizer between 2002 and 2005: Pfizer Forum Policy Resources, Retrieved from the Internet Archive 15 January 2001 on 26 April 2010;Pfizer Forum Policy Resources, Retrieved from the Internet Archive 18 June 2005 on 26 April 2010
  5. Stockholm Network Home Page, Retrieved from the Internet Archive of 14 September 2000 on 22 April 2010
  6. Links, Stockholm Network, Public Partners, Accessed 04-may-2010
  7. HDisney, Revision as of 13:28, 7 August 2008, Wikipedia, Accessed 27-April-2010
  8. Helen Disney, Annual Report 2006-2007:10 Years of the Stockholm Network, ISSUU, Accessed 04-May-2010
  9. Catherine Windels, Officers & Trustees, The Galen Institute, Accessed 27-May-2010
  10. Paul Belein, The Brussels Capitalist Ball 2006, The Brussels Journal, 26-February-2006, Accessed 27-May-2010
  11. Heritage Foundation Reports, AN OECD PROPOSAL TO ELIMINATE TAX COMPETITION WOULD MEAN HIGHER TAXES AND LESS PRIVACY, BACKGROUNDER; No. 1395; Pg. 1, 18-September-2000, Accessed via Nexis UK 04-May-2010
  12. Heritage Foundation Reports, AN OECD PROPOSAL TO ELIMINATE TAX COMPETITION WOULD MEAN HIGHER TAXES AND LESS PRIVACY, BACKGROUNDER; No. 1395; Pg. 1, 18-September-2000, Accessed via Nexis UK 04-May-2010
  13. Stockholm Network, About Us, Stockholm Network, Web Archive 01-April-2002, Accessed 09-May-2010
  14. Stockholm Network, About Us, Stockholm Network, Web Archive 01-April-2002, Accessed 09-May-2010
  15. Stockholm Network, About Us, Stockholm Network, Web Archive 01-April-2002, Accessed 09-May-2010
  16. Stockholm Network, Stockholm Network Homepage, Stockholm Network home page 23-January-2003, Accessed via web archive 03-May-2010
  17. Stockholm Network, The Stockholm Network, The Stockholm Network Homepage, 10-October-2003, Accessed 03-May-2010
  18. Stockholm Network, The Stockholm Network, The Stockholm Network Homepage, 12-December-2003, Accessed 03-May-2010
  19. Stockholm Network,The Stockholm Network, The Stockholm Network Homepage, 10-October-2003, Accessed 03-May-2010
  20. Stockholm Network, The Stockholm Network Homepage, 02-February-2004, Accessed 03-May-2010
  21. Stockholm Network, About Us, Stockholm Network, Web Archive 01-April-2002, Accessed 09-May-2010
  22. Stockholm Network, About Us, Stockholm Network, Web Archive 01-April-2002, Accessed 09-May-2010
  23. Market House International, Certificate of Incorporation of a Private Limited Company, Companies House, 05-November-2003
  24. Corporate Europe Observatory. Covert industry funding fuels the expansion of radical rightwing EU think tanks Accessed 9 April 2010.
  25. Clare Rusbridge, FW: Stockholm Network, E-mail to Steven Harkins, 12-May-2010 6:05pm
  26. Paul Staines, You want policy? In cash?', The Times (London), 20 December 2005, Page 19.
  27. Market House international Changes its name to The Stockholm Network, Certificate of Incorporation on Change of Name, Companies House, 06-February-2006
  28. Alex Singleton, Free-market network demands bail-out for pharmaceutical industry, The Telegraph, 19-January-2009, Accessed 27-April-2010
  29. Liberalni Institute, News, Liberalni Institute, Accessed 27-April-2010
  30. Stockholm Network Website Think Tank Details, Accessed 20-January-2009
  31. Catherine Hoye, RE:Stockholm Network, Centre for European Reform, E-mail to Steven Harkins 10-May-2010, 11:43am
  32. Alex Singleton, Free-market network demands bail-out for pharmaceutical industry, The Telegraph, 19 Jan 2009, acc 28/4/10
  33. Carroll, R. and Carroll, S. (2009). The UK Pharmaceutical Industry: Current Challenges and Future Solutions. The UK Pharmaceutical Industry: Current Challenges and Future Solutions, Stockholm Network, Accessed 10 April 2010.
  34. Carroll, R. and Carroll, S. (2009). The UK Pharmaceutical Industry: Current Challenges and Future Solutions. The UK Pharmaceutical Industry: Current Challenges and Future Solutions, Stockholm Network, Accessed 10 April 2010.
  35. Singleton, A., Free-market network demands bail-out for pharmaceutical industry, The Telegraph, 19-January-2009, Accessed 10 April 2010.
  36. Alex Singleton, Free-market network demands bail-out for pharmaceutical industry, The Telegraph, 19-January-2009, Accessed 27-April-2010
  37. Liberalni Institute, News, Liberalni Institute, Accessed 27-April-2010
  38. HDisney, Helen Disney Wikipedia Contributions, Wikipedia, Accessed 27-April-2010
  39. HDisney, Revision as of 10:46, 9-February-2009, Wikipedia, Accessed 27-April-2010
  40. Helen Disney, RE:Stockholm Network Members, Stockholm Network, 27-May-2010, 10:04, E-mail to Steven Harkins
  41. Stockholm Network, Think Tank Details, Stockholm Network, Accessed 09-June-2010