Experts & Staff

Mark Leonard


Languages: English, French, German
Areas of Expertise: Geo-politics and Geo-economics, China, EU-Russia relations, transatlantic relations, EU institutions, Public diplomacy and nation branding, UK foreign policy

Mark Leonard is co-founder and director of the European Council on Foreign Relations, the first pan-European think tank.

He writes a syndicated column on global affairs for and is Chairman of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Geoeconomics.

 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 Mark 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.

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 TimesThe New York TimesLe MondeSüddeutsche ZeitungEl PaisGazeta WyborczaForeign Policy, the New StatesmanThe Daily TelegraphThe EconomistTime, and Newsweek.

 As well as writing and commenting frequently in the media on global affairs, Mark 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. Mark’s second book, What does China think? was published in 2008 and translated into 15 languages.


Latest from Mark Leonard


ECFR’s World in 30 Minutes: ISIS (Podcast)

28th May, 2015

ECFR's director Mark Leonard speaks to ECFR Middle East experts and policy fellows Ellie Geranmayeh and Julien Barnes-Dacey about the geopolitics of ISIS and the role of the West.


The Fall of the Ottomans Empire by Eugen Rugen

The Rise of the Islamic State by Patrick Cockburn

The other Saudis by Toby Matthewson

The Islamic State through a regional lens by ECFR


ECFR’s World in 30 Minutes: Riga Summit (Podcast)

18th May, 2015

ECFR's director Mark Leonard speaks to Ian Bond, director of Foreign Policy at the Centre for European Reform, and ECFR Senior Policy Fellow’s Kadri Liik and Andrew Wilson. They take a look at the Eastern Partnership summit, which will take place in Riga on the 20th and 21st May 2015, and whether we can expect any major changes.


The Last Empire: The Final Days of the Soviet Union by Prof. Serhii Plokhy

Putin’s Kleptocracy – Who Owns Russia? By Karen Dawisha

Frozen: The politics and economics of sanctions against Russia by Ian Bond, Christian Odendahl and Jennifer Rankin

The next battle for Ukraine series by Gustav Grassel, Kadri Liik and Andrew Wilson

Analysing the General Election results (Blog)

by Mark Leonard - 15th May, 2015

Jacqueline Minor, Peter Wilding, Professor Sara Hobolt and ECFR's Mark Leonard analyse which direction the new government may take Britain


ECFR’s World in 30 Minutes: The results of the British elections and its consequences (Podcast)

13th May, 2015

ECFR's director Mark Leonard speaks to Silvia Francescon, head of ECFR's Rome office, Josef Janning, senior policy fellow from ECFR's Berlin office, and Piotr Buras, head of ECFR's Warsaw office, about what the results will mean for Britain's membership of the EU and the development of the EU going forward.  


Hard Choices by Hilary Clinton

Asaltar los Cielos by Jose Ignacio Torreblanca

How to save EU free movement by Open Europe

ECFR publications on the topic:

The British problem and what it means for Europe by Mark Leonard 

© Number 10 Prime Minister's Office

What David Cameron’s victory means for the rest of Europe (Commentary)

by Mark Leonard - 08th May, 2015

A look at the four key questions about the coming British referendum on the EU.


ECFR’s World in 30 Minutes: UK Elections (Podcast)

06th May, 2015

On 7 May the British public is asked to choose a new government. Mark Leonard, director of ECFR, Robin Niblett, the director of Chatham House, Charles Grant, the director of the Centre for European Reform, and Ulrike Franke, Research Assistant at ECFR, discuss the possible outcomes and what this would mean for the future of British foreign policy.


Ruling the Void: The Hollowing of Western Democracy by Peter Mair

The War that ended Peace: The Road to 1914 by Margaret MacMillan

World Order by Henry Kissinger

Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt by Michael Lewis

Publications by the experts:

Britain’s uncertain European future by Robin Niblett

The economic consequences of leaving the EU by Charles Grant

The British problem and what it means for Europe by Mark Leonard

Europe’s Galápagos moment (Commentary)

by Mark Leonard - 30th April, 2015

It may be that Europe’s postmodern order has become so advanced and particular to its environment that it is impossible for others to follow

Picture source: PES Communications, cropped

A vision for the EU's new foreign policy strategy (Commentary)

by Mark Leonard - 24th April, 2015

As it reviews its foreign policy, the EU should decide on the areas where it can achieve the greatest results.

Read all from Mark Leonard

Read all publications from Mark Leonard