Experts & Staff

Mark Leonard

Director

Areas of expertise

Geopolitics and Geoeconomics; China; EU-Russia relations; transatlantic relations; EU politics and institutions; public diplomacy and nation branding; UK foreign policy

Languages

English, French, German

Biography

Mark Leonard is co-founder and director of the European Council on Foreign Relations, the first pan-European think tank. His topics of focus include geopolitics and geoeconomics, China, EU politics and institutions.

Leonard hosts the weekly podcast “Mark Leonards’s World in 30 Minutes” and writes a syndicated column on global affairs for Project Syndicate. Previously he worked as director of foreign policy at the Centre for European Reform and as director of the Foreign Policy Centre, a think tank he founded at the age of 24 under the patronage of former British Prime Minister Tony Blair. In the 1990s, Leonard worked for the think tank Demos where his Britain™ report was credited with launching Cool Britannia. Mark has spent time in Washington, D.C. as a Transatlantic Fellow at the German Marshall Fund of the United States, and in Beijing as a visiting scholar at the Chinese Academy for Social Sciences.

He was Chairman of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Geoeconomics until 2016.

Honoured as a “Young Global Leader” of the World Economic Forum, he spends a lot of time helping governments, companies, and international organisations make sense of the big geo-political trends of the twenty-first century. He is a regular speaker and prolific writer and commentator on global issues, the future of Europe, China’s internal politics, and the practice of diplomacy and business in a networked world. His essays have appeared in publications such as Foreign Affairs, the Financial Times, the New York TimesLe MondeSüddeutsche ZeitungEl PaisGazeta WyborczaForeign Policy, the New Statesman, the Daily TelegraphThe EconomistTime, and Newsweek.

As well as writing and commenting frequently in the media on global affairs, Leonard is the author of best-selling books. His first book, Why Europe will run the 21st Century, was published in 2005 and translated into 19 languages. Leonard’s second book, What does China think? was published in 2008 and translated into 15 languages. He has published an edited volume on Connectivity Wars and in September 2021, his latest book on this topic “The Age of Unpeace. How Connectivity Causes Conflict” will be released.

Why COP26 will fail

UN Climate Change Conferences have failed to produce a model of global governance that can tame power politics, let alone forge a sense of shared destiny among countries. And there is little reason to believe this time will be different.

Publications

Articles

Why COP26 will fail

UN Climate Change Conferences have failed to produce a model of global governance that can tame power politics, let alone forge a sense of shared destiny among countries. And there is little reason to believe this time will be different.

The false promise of AUKUS

In their new security and technology arrangement with Australia, America and Britain have achieved tactical gains at the expense of strategic goals in the Indo-Pacific. In fact, given how deeply the deal has divided the West, the biggest long-term winner may well be China.

The Afghan tragedy and the age of unpeace

The end of the US-led “forever war” in Afghanistan will not bring peace, because the methods that countries use to attack each other have changed. The world has entered a new age of perpetual competition among powerful states.

An EU flag flies over the reichstag

Germany’s patriotism paradox

New polling shows that German citizens have begun to sour on the European project. If German politicians do not revise how they talk about Europe, this change could have disastrous consequences.

Germany’s Green Velvet Revolution?

While Germany’s long-ruling centre-right parties continue to offer more of the same, the Greens have recently emerged as a serious contender in the run-up to September’s federal elections

The new China shock

China’s new strategy for achieving economic self-reliance and geopolitical dominance poses an unprecedented challenge to the West

The Russia strategy Europe needs

The European Union should be in no hurry either to engage with Russian President Vladimir Putin’s regime or to force a diplomatic crisis. Rather than vacillating between resets and crackdowns, the EU should pursue a strategy of “principled indifference”

The crisis of American power

While America’s crisis of democracy has been clear to see in recent months, equally consequential is its crisis of power on the world stage

Specials

Podcasts

In the media