Geopolitics in the coronavirus era – who will be crowned winner?

Mark Leonard's World in 30 minutes - Coronavirus - English - Asia & China - MENA - European Power - Politics & Cohesion - Wider Europe - 27 March 2020

Last week’s episode saw our experts dissecting the coronavirus’ implications for Europe. In today's episode, we’re breaking down how the crisis is unfolding in the rest of the world. From the Middle East to Russia and Asia, and all over across the Atlantic – what long-term effects could it have on these regions? And what does it mean for geopolitics, the global system and its institutions?
Our Host Mark Leonard is joined by the ECFR heads of programme Julien Barnes-Dacey, Susi Dennison, Janka Oertel & Nicu Popescu to discuss how the virus is manifesting in these regions, and the implications it carries with it – and it doesn’t look too good. For all the gloominess this podcast will create, our experts recommend turning to poetry for some soul-healing. Recommendations below!

This podcast was recorded on 25 March 2020.


Listen online   

Corona Angst – How the virus puts the European Project and globalisation at risk

Mark Leonard's World in 30 minutes - Coronavirus - English - European Power - European Sovereignty - Politics & Cohesion - 20 March 2020

Recently declared a global pandemic, it is undeniable that the coronavirus will be a global political, social, financial and economic crisis - requiring actions that reach far beyond unilateral measures by single states. Within Europe, the virus seems to be calling into question the fundamentality of a shared European solidarity also due to rising dissatisfaction at the lack of a coordinated response. Whilst it is too early to tell, to what extent, it seems more and more certain that this crisis will have long-lasting consequences for the European project and life as we know it. Host Mark Leonard is joined by his fellow home office workers Jana Puglierin, Arturo Varvelli, Jose Ignacio Torreblanca and Pawel Zerka to dissect the European response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

This podcast was recorded on 18 March 2020.


Further reading:

Listen online   

Many elephants in the room: the EU and the Turkey, Syria, coronavirus and refugee crises

Mark Leonard's World in 30 minutes - English - MENA - Syria - European Power - European Sovereignty - Wider Europe - Turkey - 13 March 2020

The European Union faces a multi-crisis situation at the moment. As the conflict in Idlib and the circumstances at the Greek-Turkish border has erupted, Europe seems to have troubles to respond to latest developments in the Syrian war and threats from Turkey.
Host Mark Leonard is joined by ECFR co-chair and former Prime Minister of Sweden, Carl Bildt as well as by the ECFR experts Asli Aydintasbas and Julien Barnes-Dacey to discuss the reasoning behind Ankara’s recent moves and the EU’s reactions. How to avoid a 2015-like situation but without tossing its own values and human rights out off the window? And how to deal with the other seats of fire within the Union itself?

This podcast was recorded on 12 March 2020.

Further reading:
- Syrian voices: Where next for European policy?

The Anarchy by William Dalrymple
Pax Sinica: implications for the India dawn by Samir Saran and Akhil Deo
Black Lamb and Grey Falcon by Rebecca West
Blame Europe, not just Turkey, for migration deal collapse by Kati Piri
Beyond blackmail at the Greek-Turkish border by Nathalie Tocci
Clash of Empires: Currencies and Power in a Multipolar World by Charles Gave & Louis-Vincent Gave

Listen online   

The EU as regulatory superpower: can EU law be a geopolitical tool?

Mark Leonard's World in 30 minutes - English - European Power - European Sovereignty - Politics & Cohesion - 03 March 2020

This week’s podcast episode sees very special participation from Anu Bradford, law professor at Columbia and author of “The Brussels Effect: How the European Union Rules the World”. Bradford’s book focuses on the way the EU manages to continuously set standards and have a say in the global playing field by unilaterally regulating its powerful single market, and consequentially reinforcing its status as a global powerhouse. Joined by our usual Host Mark Leonard and Head of ECFR Berlin Jana Puglierin, and drawing on many examples from the digital economy to climate change, this episode explores how a global regulatory race to the top will be how the EU gets to have a say in the 21st century.

This podcast was recorded on 2 March 2020.


Listen online   

You better bring a book – the start of the EU’s lengthy budget talks

Mark Leonard's World in 30 minutes - English - European Power - rethink - European Sovereignty - Politics & Cohesion - 28 February 2020

Negotiations over the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) for 2021 – 2027 just have started. But as tensions and divergences between the EU member states are rising, a final agreement seems considerably far away for now. The European Union is subject to a series of unprecedented constraints, the most significant one being the UK’s departure and the withdrawal of the money it once granted. Still, the implications of the budget allocation are manifold and extremely far-reaching. It will affect major themes which stand at the very basis of the Union and its future role on the global stage, such as national sovereignty, climate and innovation. Our Director Mark Leonard is joined by ECFR co-chair and director of the Danish think tank EUROPA Lykke Friis, as well as ECFR experts Jonathan Hackenbroich and Pawel Zerka to dissect the ongoing status of the discussions.

This podcast was recorded on 25 February 2020.

Inspired by Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, here are some recommendations by our podcast crew on what to read during the long hours of MFF negotiations:


Listen online   

Feeling the Westlessness at the Munich Security Conference 2020

Mark Leonard's World in 30 minutes - European Power - 18 February 2020

The annual Munich Security Conference was themed "Westlessness", defining “a widespread feeling of uneasiness and restlessness in the face of increasing uncertainty about the enduring purpose of the West”. Is the West becoming less relevant in global affairs? Are the West’s international partnerships endangered? And if so, what will the world look like in the future? Our Director Mark Leonard is joined by an all-star ECFR cast including Janka Oertel, Ulrike Franke, Ellie Geranmayeh and Jeremy Shapiro, for a very special episode recorded straight from the MSC – and covering everything from 5G, China, Iran and the future of Europe’s transatlantic relationship.

This podcast was recorded on 15 February 2020.

Further Reading

Listen online   

Trump’s “Deal of the Century” debunked: is there something in it for Palestine at all?

Mark Leonard's World in 30 minutes - MENA - Israel / Palestine - 14 February 2020

When US-President Donal Trump revealed his much-awaited plan for peace for Israel and Palestine it was set to solve one of the world's longest-running conflict. But this “deal of the century” was not met with the same enthusiasm in Palestine as it was seen on Trump’s and Netanyahu’s faces – to say the least. Host Mark Leonard and our MENA experts Hugh Lovatt and René Wildangel are analysing in depth the “Peace Plan” and show how little there is actually in it for the Palestinians. “The proposal clearly challenges the internationally agreed parameters,” said the EU’s chief diplomat Josep Borrell. But what can and should Europe do beyond statements?
Further read: From negotiation to imposition: Trump’s Israel-Palestine parameters by Hugh Lovatt

This podcast was recorded on 12 February 2020.


Listen online   

War and pieces: Political divides in southern Yemen

English - Events - MENA - 10 February 2020

Lunch discussion to mark the launch of ECFR's newest paper "War and pieces: Political divides in southern Yemen". 

International attention to the Yemeni conflict has shifted in recent months from the Saudi-led war against the Houthis in the north and west of the country to a major clash within the anti-Houthi coalition between the UAE supported Southern Transitional Council’s forces and those of the coalition supported internationally recognised government of President Hadi. The Saudi sponsored Riyadh Agreement to solve this crisis has faced major difficulties and many questions remain unanswered, particularly the role of the UAE. Meanwhile the UN remains out of the southern debates and has failed to revive talks since the December 2018 Stockholm agreement.  By contrast, European Union and member states leaders are taking notable initiatives in Yemen which may help towards some progress both with the implementation of Riyadh and more widely on the war situation. 

Following on the recently published ECFR paper War and pieces, political divides in southern Yemen,  the authors presented the findings of their report and discuss other relevant recent developments. Saleh al Batati acted as discussant to the points made in the talk and the paper.

  • Raiman Al-Hamdani is a consultant at DeepRoot Consulting, specialising on human development, local communities and indigenous peace-making methods. Raiman is a Visiting Fellow in ECFR's MENA Programme. 
  • Helen Lackner is an independent researcher and has worked in Yemen since the 1970s. Her latest book is Yemen in Crisis (UK edition 2017, US edition 2019, Arabic forthcoming 2020). Helen is a Visiting Fellow in ECFR's MENA Programme. 
  • Saleh al-Batati is a Journalist Fellow at the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, a Yemeni journalist and a 2019 News and Documentary Emmy Award winner. In 2019, al-Batati served as south Yemen director responsible for key leader surveys for Pechter Polls of Princeton. 
  • Ellie Geranmayeh is the Deputy Director ofthe Middle East and North Africa Programme at ECFR. Ellie leads on the MENA programme's Iran portfolio, specialising in European policy in relation to Iran, particularly on the nuclear and regional dossiers. She most recently wrote about the killing of Soleimani in the POLITICO article “Crisis in Iran will drive wedge between Europe and Washington”.
Listen online   

To Huawei or not to Huawei?

Mark Leonard's World in 30 minutes - English - Asia & China - European Power - European Sovereignty - 07 February 2020

Last week the European Commission published its EU Toolbox on 5G Cyber Security, with the aim of aiding the member states in evaluating the risks associated with future usage of 5G infrastructure and networks. This was a step forward given the polarising debate surrounding the role of Chinese telecommunications firms like Huawei and ZTE within a future 5G network in Europe. The decision, however, will ultimately be a national one taken by individual member states. Our Director Mark Leonard is joined by Asia Programme Director Janka Oertel and Project Director of Stiftung Neue Verantwortung Jan-Peter Kleinhans to discuss the significance and implications of the toolbox and what this might mean for the EU.

This podcast was recorded on 5 February 2020.


Listen online   

Reshuffling Russia's leadership - old wines in new bottles?

Mark Leonard's World in 30 minutes - English - Wider Europe - Russia - EaP - Ukraine - 31 January 2020

It came as a surprise when Russia’s government resigned just hours after Putin’s announced his plans for a possible referendum of constitutional changes. Host Mark Leonard is joined by Kadri Liik and Gustav Gressel to elaborate on the recent political changes that have happened in the world’ largest country over the course of just the past weeks. What role will Putin play in the future in Russia and on the global stage? Is there a change to recent the relationship between the EU and Moscow? And was does this all mean to Belarus, Ukraine and the NordStream 2 project?

Further read:

This podcast was recorded on 27 January 2020.


Listen online