Despite the fashionable talk about BRICS and the G2 of Washington and Beijing, we really now live in a G3 world that combines US military power and consumption, Chinese capital and labour, and European rules and technology.
Areas of expertise
Geopolitics and Geoeconomics; China; EU-Russia relations; transatlantic relations; EU politics and institutions; public diplomacy and nation branding; UK foreign policy
English, French, German
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 Times, Le Monde, Süddeutsche Zeitung, El Pais, Gazeta Wyborcza, Foreign Policy, the New Statesman, the Daily Telegraph, The Economist, Time, 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.
How to help Germany rework its role as the keystone of Europe
The Deauville summit involving Sarkozy, Merkel and Medvedev was always likely to be a non-event, beyond the recognition that Europe is now a multipolar continent. Instead we need a new system – an informal trialogue on European security that would keep the EU united, Russia post-imperial and Turkey European.
The meeting of Angela Merkel, Dmitri Medvedev and Nicolas Sarkozy at the French seaside resort of Deauville on Monday 18th has the right agenda – European security – but the wrong actors. A trialogue involving the EU, Russia and Turkey would be the best way to rethink security in Europe.
The EU needs to build a trialogue on security with Russia and Turkey
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
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
Response to the Haiti tragedy; the struggling mission in Afghanistan; the economic crisis. The west is in a ’20 year crisis’.
Western governments need to show they are getting serious. Otherwise we will end up with another Copenhagen.
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
Chinese thinkers are drawing four key lessons from Russia’s war on Ukraine, informing their views on: America, Russia, Taiwan, and economic interdependence with the West
Recent polling for ECFR suggests that Europeans have come closer together in their support for Ukraine. But the factors driving this unity are fragile, contingent, and may not last
New polling for ECFR reveals the West is consolidating – while facing an increasingly post-Western world, in which powers such as India and Turkiye are readier than ever to act independently
New ECFR research reveals that Europeans are split about the long-term goals of the war in Ukraine. Unless political leaders find a new language to bridge the gap between emerging “Peace” and “Justice” camps, Europe could become polarised between – and within – countries.
Europeans are united around three key ideas about the war in Ukraine. The crisis will likely test their readiness to defend the European security order.
A majority of European citizens believe a new cold war with both China and Russia is under way – but they mostly do not think that their own country is involved
Europe’s covid-19 experience has been a tale of two pandemics – and the differences in each story could haunt the continent for many years to come
To engage more confidently with a world that is changing, outward-looking Germans need to shape a progressive new national identity before it is defined by the forces of isolation and exclusion
The EU should become a global standard-setter for the energy transition, and prepare to manage the profound geopolitical repercussions of the Green Deal in its relationships with its neighbourhood
Most Europeans rejoiced at Joe Biden’s victory in the US presidential election, but they do not think he can help America make a comeback as the pre-eminent global leader
The very different responses of China and the United States to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine revealed the divergence in Beijing’s and Washington’s thinking. In Washington,…
The recent ceasefire between Israel and Islamic Jihad, the detente between Iran and Saudi Arabia, and the de-escalation in Yemen have all been accomplished with minimal Western involvement. While this may be just a temporary lull in Middle Eastern violence, it may also offer a glimpse into the multipolar future
With the war in Ukraine well into its second year, European politicians from across the political spectrum are still eager to show their support for the country. But a battle for the soul of Europe is brewing beneath the surface, and next year’s European Parliament elections could serve as its first battleground.
The real battle for international supremacy today is not between democracies and autocracies, but between different models of global order, with China and the West each offering its own distinct account of “democracy”. The sooner that Western leaders recognise this, the better chance they will have of attracting new partners
To understand today’s geopolitical ructions, one must look beyond major powers’ governments and top strategists. As the recent Chinese balloon saga showed, public opinion is increasingly in the driver’s seat, and it is steering international relations away from open, honest dialogue
There is growing support for the idea that the world is experiencing not ‘deglobalisation’ but rather ‘re-globalisation’, owing to accelerating changes in energy and technology. Nonetheless, the differences between the next wave of globalisation and the last one will far outweigh the similarities
Ten predictions for what’s coming in the world of 2023. Plus a Tik-Tok bonus.
Although Ukrainians are heading into a hard winter sustained by a sense of optimism and hope for peace in the near future, this is no time for complacency. The West, and especially the European Union, must get serious about positioning itself for a protracted, multi-pronged conflict.
A few short years after being declared brain dead, the transatlantic alliance is thriving, with Americans and Europeans coordinating their response to Russian aggression and sharing similar views on China. But new storm clouds are gathering, and Europeans must prepare for darker days ahead.
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.
Power is now defined by control over flows of people, goods, money, and data, and via the connections they establish. Only states that see the new map of geopolitical power clearly will be able to control the modern world.
New ECFR/YouGov research reveals huge fluidity in current voting intentions: 70 percent of Europeans certain to vote are yet to make their choice. Nearly 100m swing voters are up for grabs.
Mark Leonard welcomes Janka Oertel to discuss her new book “End of the China illusion” and the West’s biggest misconceptions about China
Mark Leonard welcomes Mark Malloch-Brown to discuss the future of the open society model in Europe and the world
In this seventh episode of our mini-series , Mark Leonard and Susi Dennison talk to Nick Witney and Camille Grand about the potential for a great reset in UK-EU relations, especially regarding cooperation on defence
In this sixth episode of our mini-series, Mark Leonard and Susi Dennison talk to Philip Rycroft about the potential for a great reset in UK-EU relations
In this fifth episode of our new mini-series, Mark Leonard and Susi Dennison talk to Ivan Rogers about the potential for a great reset in UK-EU relations
The Great Reset? How the EU and the UK can rethink their cooperation on climate and energy with Nick Butler
In this fourth episode of our new mini-series, Mark Leonard and Susi Dennison talk to Nick Butler about the potential for a great reset in UK-EU relations
In this third episode of our new mini-series, Mark Leonard and Susi Dennison talk to Mujtaba Rahman about the potential for a great reset in UK-EU relations
The great reset? How the EU and the UK can rethink their cooperation on foreign policy with David Lidington
In this second episode of our new mini-series, Mark Leonard and Susi Dennison talk to David Lidington about the potential for a great reset in UK-EU relations
Mark Leonard will launch his newly released paperback edition of his book – The Age of Unpeace: How Connectivity Causes Conflict (Penguin) with a brand-new essay on the war in Ukraine and its implications for geopolitics
With the EU’s High Representative as our honoured guest, the panel will explore the birth of a geopolitical Europe and the new dimensions of European power with a focus on the tech, economic, and security terrains
In collaboration with the Embassy of Japan in Madrid, ECFR has organised a public virtual debate to explore how the EU and the Indo-Pacific can build a strategic alliance and how the EU-Japan relationship can drive this process
How central is the EU to the US and its interests in Europe? And how does the public in European countries view Biden’s America?
ECFR’s latest polling finds that Europeans celebrated Joe Biden’s victory but are sceptical that we will see a global resurgence of US power and…
How to manage the geopolitical aspects of the European Green Deal and lead climate change efforts globally
The event will launch an exciting new report by Ivan Krastev and Mark Leonard, based on public opinion polling in 11 countries
The EU’s High Representative, Josep Borrell, and Mark Leonard discussed why strategic autonomy matters