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Ricardo Borges de Castro
Associate Director and Head of the Europe in the World Programme
Ricardo Borges de Castro is Associate Director and Head of the Europe in the World Programme at the European Policy Centre.

Ricardo served as Adviser for Foreign Affairs and then as Adviser on Strategic Foresight to the European Political Strategy Centre, the European Commission’s in-house think tank, reporting directly to President Jean-Claude Juncker. Ricardo led the EPSC’s work on foresight, focusing mainly on global trends, ‘anticipatory democracy,’ and policymaking. During his tenure, he spearheaded efforts to mainstream anticipation and foresight across Commission services. He was also the European Commission’s project leader for the European Strategy and Policy Analysis System (ESPAS), an EU inter-institutional collaboration on global trends and strategic foresight.

Before joining the EPSC, Ricardo served as Member of Cabinet and Personal Assistant to José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission, as well as spokesperson for ‘Europe and the World’ at the Commission’s Spokespersons’ Planning and Coordination Unit. In these roles, Ricardo regularly accompanied and assisted President Barroso in his meetings with heads of state and government of EU Member States, in summits with third countries and Strategic Partners (USA, Japan, China, Russia, Brazil, Korea, South Africa, etc.) and in international fora, including the G20, G8/G7, NATO, ASEM, and the UN.

In Portugal, Ricardo served in the Prime Minister’s Office as Political Adviser to the Prime Minister after spending four years in the Portuguese Parliament as Policy Advisor for foreign affairs, national defence policy, and East Timor.

Ricardo taught international relations at Lusíada University in Lisbon, was a Course Assistant at Harvard Kennedy School, and a Visiting Professor at the Institute of Political Studies at the Catholic University in Portugal. He also contributes to executive trainings on ‘strategic foresight’ and ‘evidence-based policymaking’ at the School of Transnational Governance, European University Institute, and the Geneva Centre for Security Policy.

Ricardo is currently an Associate Fellow, Global Fellowship Initiative, at the Geneva Centre for Security Policy.

Ricardo holds a Master of Arts in Law and Diplomacy (MALD) from The Fletcher School, Tufts University, and a DPhil (PhD) in International Relations from the University of Oxford (St Antony’s College).

Besides Portugal, he has lived in the US, UK, Turkey, and lately in Belgium.

Ricardo enjoys running and the outdoors.


Europe in the World


Strategic Compass Initiative; Advancing military mobility in Europe: A multisectoral approach; EPC Talks Geopolitics; EU-China think tank exchanges;

Areas of expertise

EU’s international role, future of Europe, global trends, transatlantic relations, multilateralism, democratisation, strategic foresight, scenarios, enlargement

Current positions

Associate Fellow, Global Fellowship Initiative, Geneva Centre for Security Policy
Member of the OECD Government Foresight Community
Member of the Bertelsmann Stiftung's Transatlantic Foresight Expert Group


DPhil in International Relations, St Antony’s College, University of Oxford
Master of Arts in Law and Diplomacy (MALD), The Fletcher School, Tufts University


Portuguese, English, Spanish, French, Turkish (basic)



Economic governance / COMMENTARY
Smart diversification: Economic security through diplomacy
By Ricardo Borges de Castro , Raúl Villegas - 21/09/2023
Security & defence / EPC ROUND-UP
Countdown until the NATO Vilnius Summit: Priorities and expectations in 2023
By Amanda Paul , Jamie Shea , Ivano di Carlo , Mihai Sebastian Chihaia , Ricardo Borges de Castro , Ionela Ciolan , Iana Maisuradze , Federica Zizzi , Benedetta Berti - 22/06/2023
Strategic foresight / COMMENTARY
From foresight to forethought: No longer lost in translation?
By Fabian Zuleeg , Ricardo Borges de Castro - 15/06/2023
Security & defence / OP-ED
Memo to NATO’s future Secretary General
By Ricardo Borges de Castro - 09/06/2023
Strategic foresight / OUTLOOK PAPER
Europe in the world in 2023: Learning the language of power?
By Amanda Paul , Andrew Duff , Ivano di Carlo , Shada Islam , Mihai Sebastian Chihaia , Ricardo Borges de Castro , Iana Maisuradze , Georg E. Riekeles , Maxime Sierro , Rita Mendonça Barbosa Amorim Lobo , Simon Dekeyrel , Marta Mucznik , Svitlana Taran , Philipp Lausberg , Zeynep Güner , Berta López Domènech - 22/02/2023


EU enlargement / INTERVIEW
Interview with CNN
Ricardo Borges de Castro was interviewed by CNN Portugal on need that the European Commission felt to correct the position taken by the President of the European Council regarding EU enlargement by 2030.

Watch the interview here. (In Portuguese)

Interview with CNN
29 August 2023 - ,
CNN Portugal
Brussels, my love? What Brussels think about the Turkish elections and the EU flag debate
Ricardo Borges de Castro participated in Euronews' talk show, "Brussels, my love?". The episode focused on EU/Turkish relations in light of Türkiye's recent elections and the EU's Spring Economic Forecast.

Watch the full episode here.

Brussels, my love? What Brussels think about the Turkish elections and the EU flag debate
20 May 2023 - ,
Foreign policy / EPC FLASH ANALYSIS
Today’s Gymnich menu: Russia for lunch; China for afternoon tea
When EU ministers for foreign affairs meet today in Sweden, they have a full menu: Russia and its aggression on Ukraine for lunch; EU-China relations for the afternoon tea or coffee. While there is greater convergence and unity on how Brussels and the EU27 should respond to Moscow’s armed geopolitical revisionism, future relations with Beijing are harder to digest. Clearly, there has been a gradual European hardening on China over the last few years, but the several dimensions and layers of EU-China ties make it a much harder challenge to address in a fully coherent and coordinated way.

Hence, it should not come as a surprise if what comes out of the informal Gymnich meeting is a sharper reiteration of current China as a ‘partner,’ ‘competitor,’ and ‘rival’ policy. Commission President von der Leyen’s ‘de-risking-not-decoupling’ compass is also likely to feature high, but the basic tenets of the EU’s China strategy are unlikely to change fundamentally. Besides, calling China a ‘rival’ is already a sunk diplomatic cost: Beijing rejects that characterisation, and unless the EU scraps the term altogether, it is pointless for policymakers to devise a synonym that is likely to equally annoy the Chinese.

China and Russia are on today’s menu, but they are not the only countries with which the EU needs to grapple with. Apart from these two big players, a key relationship is the one with the United States. Although transatlantic relations are presently on a better path despite known irritants, 2024 may take the two sides of the Atlantic back to the future if Mr Trump or a Trumpian candidate is elected. Before the upcoming election cycle starts, the EU and the US should rapidly set up ‘transatlantic guardrails’ to keep the relationship on track irrespective of the outcome of the US presidential elections.

As the world becomes geopolitically more fragmented and competitive, the EU needs to think more deliberately about its global relations and devise a policy of ‘strategic diversification’ across all policy areas, also assessing and mapping countries that can advance or hinder the objectives of the Union, from economic security and military defence to the green and digital transitions. This represents a large swath of nations worldwide – like-minded and not. Indeed, ‘strategic diversification’ would allow the EU, in the long-term, to act autonomously when it needs to do so to defend or advance its values or interests and in partnership when its aims are better served by acting together with other countries that share the same values and/or interests.

EU autonomy through diversification may be better than pursuing the current ambivalent path that risks alienating friends and competitors. Maybe ministers can have ‘strategic diversification’ with brännvin for a nightcap?

P.S. – President Macron’s “Made in Europe” doctrine published today in the media is also a good weekend reading.

Today’s Gymnich menu: Russia for lunch; China for afternoon tea
12 May 2023 - ,

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