Interview with Mattias Goldmann

Last year, you travelled by train from town to town, arranging seminars, conferences, meetings and roundtables with local stakeholders. What are your plans for this year?

What a train ride it was; from Stockholm to the climate meeting in Marrakech with seminars along the way in the great European ELF-spirit! This year, the meeting is in Bonn, so the ride will be shorter, but I am excited that many organizations along the way want to meet with me and my Fores colleagues to discuss energy security, climate issues and improved European cooperation.


Among the ELF network, your research work is very much appreciated. How do you make sure that it generates impact?

We try to be relevant by focusing on the policymakers needs, rather than our own interests. We also find that one key to success is to narrow our scope; even though Fores has been lucky enough to grow over the past years, we have actually become better at saying ”we don’t work with that”. This means that we are considered more of experts in the areas that we do cover; integration, climate and energy security, entrepreneurship and economic reforms, and digitalization. For other subjects, talk to someone else!


Measuring impact is known to be challenging. Next year, Fores will implement an ambitious study aiming to evaluate the impact of projects. What are your expectations about it and how can other member organisations be involved?

As so many other ELF members, we ask ourselves ”are we successful”? And too often, we have answered this with criteria that are easy to measure - the number of articles in the press, followers on twitter, etc, rather than what is really central to a think tank; how relevant are we? Do we influence policy? I'm very grateful to ELF for supporting this project, and excited about hearing how other members do this - please get in touch, this is a joint effort that we will hopefully all benefit from!


You are devoted to the cause of environment and green economy. What to do for a greener Europe? 

The issues are clearly interlinked; when the EU is busy just keeping together, it loses the leadership in the sustainable, climate-friendly economy to countries such as China, regions such as California and companies such as Unilever. And the targets discussed in the EU winter package are not ambitious enough to get us back on track - so the first thing to do is to realize that if everyone is heading the same direction, the way to attract followers is to be in the lead. Actually, how countries successfully lead for change is the issue for a new Fores project I would love to talk more about next time...

17. Oct 2017 by Intern

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