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 was 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

Publications

Articles

Preparing for the Long War

Amid the euphoria following recent Ukrainian battlefield victories, some commentators are cautiously optimistic that Ukraine could win the war by the spring. But Vladimir Putin’s latest moves suggest that Russia is settling in for a long war of attrition that will test European resolve.

Russia’s war on Ukraine viewed from China

Westerners regard Russia’s war as an attack on the rules-based order, but Chinese scholars see it as another harbinger of the denouement of US hegemony. While Americans and Europeans can argue with this position, it would be a mistake not to take it seriously.

The European war project

For the European project to stay the same, everything must change

The decline and fall of Davos man

Russia’s war on Ukraine loomed large at Davos, where leaders once gathered to celebrate globalisation. The world has now entered an era dominated by geopolitics.

Europe’s soft-power problem

Although Europe has begun to make up for years of neglect in terms of defence spending, it remains woefully ill-equipped to win over other countries through the power of attraction and persuasion. Each side in the European culture war is uniquely unappealing to billions of people around the world.

Welcome to the jungle

As a paranoid dictator, Vladimir Putin has survived by eliminating anyone who could pose a threat to him. But now that he has triggered the survival instinct of Europe and the broader West, the world is entering a dangerous new phase of existential conflict.

The birth of a geopolitical Germany

The only way for Germany to escape its historical inhibitions and be true to its post-war development is to change

Lessons for Europe from the Munich Security Conference

The current US administration might be the last one that sees itself as a European power. As the Munich Security Conference 2022 showed, Europeans will need to do far more to shape the rules of engagement between states.

Will Putin unite Europe?

Across Europe, national attitudes toward the Russian threat against Ukraine reflect a broad array of concerns and historical experiences. Yet underlying Europeans’ differences are key shared interests that they are increasingly willing to defend.

2022: The road to recovery (again)

Mark Leonard and Jeremy Shapiro predict ten bright and bold policy projections for the year 2022

Specials

Podcasts

Events

In the media