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.

Stronger than it thinks it is: how Europe should deal with China

The question of how the EU should deal with the world’s rising powers will dominate the informal Gymnich foreign ministers’ meeting and the European Council meeting over the next week. In a memo to European leaders, François Godement and Mark Leonard argue that the financial crisis may have increased Europe’s leverage when it deals with Beijing

The EAS and Europe’s place in the world

Building the EAS is not simply about backroom Brussels politics and bureaucratic infighting. It is about giving Europe the means to punch its weight in a changing world

The 20 year crisis

Response to the Haiti tragedy; the struggling mission in Afghanistan; the economic crisis. The west is in a ’20 year crisis’.

Europe must rediscover its power

The EU needs to take a good look at its relations and position in the world ? Lady Ashton is well placed to integrate its strengths

Europe must stand up for Georgia

Open letter: Twenty years after half of Europe was freed, a new wall is being built – across Georgia

The self-hating Parliament

The next generation of EU technocrats will need to be populists as well

What now?

Once he enters office, President Obama will bring a profound challenge to the comfortable introversion of many EU governments

Publications

Articles

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

Building back a better transatlantic alliance

Even with a new, far more sympathetic US administration, it will be incumbent on Europe to come to the table as a co-equal power bearing solutions, rather than as a helpless child begging for protection and guidance

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.

Specials

Podcasts

In the media