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 author of two 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 is working on a forthcoming book on the same topic.

I trucchetti di Trump

Anche se gli sforzi del presidente americano Donald Trump per minare le elezioni sono spudorati, sono comunque più sottili delle vere e proprie manovre elettorali che avvengono in posti come la Bielorussia. Così come altri leader autoritari, Trump sta mettendo in atto una nuova politica antidemocratica che non è ancora stata pienamente compresa.

Trump’s dirty tricks

Although US President Donald Trump’s efforts to undermine the election are shameless, they are still more subtle than the outright election rigging that one finds in places like Belarus. Like other authoritarian leaders, Trump is deploying a new anti-democratic politics that has yet to be fully comprehended.

Publications

How to govern a fragmented EU: What Europeans said at the ballot box

The results of the European election confront EU leaders with a considerable challenge: navigating a new, more fragmented, and polarised political environment

Articles

The Middle Eastern past is never dead

The normalisation of relations between Israel and the United Arab Emirates (followed quickly by Bahrain) indicates that the Middle East is undergoing a strategic paradigm shift, with the Palestinians left out in the cold. But anyone who thinks that the region’s oldest ongoing conflict has been laid to rest should think again.

Europe’s double bind

The covid-19 pandemic has exposed a gap between European aspirations and actions. If European leaders are serious about defending rules-based multilateralism and securing the European Union’s interests in the twenty-first century, they will need to start coming to terms with today’s geopolitical realities.

Trump’s dirty tricks

Although US President Donald Trump’s efforts to undermine the election are shameless, they are still more subtle than the outright election rigging that one finds in places like Belarus. Like other authoritarian leaders, Trump is deploying a new anti-democratic politics that has yet to be fully comprehended.

The other Putin on Europe’s doorstep

By weaponising immigration and launching new foreign adventures, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is increasingly acting like his Russian counterpart. And though such behaviour speaks to a deteriorating political situation at home, Europeans can no longer assume that Turkey will remain firmly in the Western fold.

Europe’s self-help moment

The covid-19 crisis has created an opening for stronger collective European action. But policymakers must understand that the demands of voters across the continent for greater cooperation do not reflect an appetite for institution-building, but rather a deeper anxiety about losing control in a perilous world.

Salvaging globalisation

Like other recent systemic crises, the coronavirus pandemic has confronted us with an inconvenient truth: the risks associated with international openness might very well outweigh the gains. If today’s multilateral frameworks are to have a future, they must be brought back into the service of national sovereignty.

Leadership in a time of contagion

Although the covid-19 pandemic has been compared to the 2008 financial crisis, the two episodes are quite different, not least in their cast of leading characters. Unlike the previous generation, today’s European leaders have been shaped by a decade of austerity, refugee crises, and America's denouement as a global hegemon.

Specials

Video

Podcasts

Can the Frugals transform the EU?

The geopolitical grouping known as the “frugal four” — Austria, Denmark, Sweden and the Netherlands — has emerged as a key power centre in this year’s negotiations over the EU’s next budget and the covid-19 recovery fund. Does “frugality” actually reflect the public sentiment in those countries?

In the media

Mark Leonard's quoted by The Jordan Times on how the Covid-19 pandemic has shaped European Union's approach