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Mark Leonard's World in 30 minutes

In our weekly series, Mark Leonard and guests explore the big issues in foreign policy.

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Conquering the cyber sphere: How the EU can build digital sovereignty

Europe’s digital transformation and sovereignty has become a question of existential importance. But what does it actually mean to be digital sovereign? Host Mark Leonard is joined by Marietje Schaake, President of the CyberPeace Institute and International Policy Director at the Cyber Policy Center at Stanford University as well as ECFR’s Jose Ignacio Torreblanca and Jeremy Shapiro. Together they analyse where we do see progress in developing digital sovereignty on EU level and where…Listen to podcast

Xavier Lejeune | European Union, 2020 - ©

Why Europe cannot become a giant Switzerland - geopolitical challenges in times of covid-19

The Covid-19 pandemic has shaken the EU’s conception of order and exposed a gap between European aspirations and actions. Firstly, Europeans are confronted with the fact that raw power, not rules, is the main factor determining today’s global dynamics. Secondly, global politics are now centred rather in Asia than Europe; the Sino-American rivalry has shifted attention away from European issues. In this week’s podcast, Mark Leonard stars as guest – not host – to discuss with policy…Listen to podcast

European Union, 2020 - ©

Nagorno-Karabakh: Armenia and Azerbaijan's thawing of the ‘frozen conflict'

The contested Nagorno-Karabakh region is at the heart of a decades-long armed standoff between neighbours Armenia and Azerbaijan. The heavy clashes seen last week prompted fears that the dispute could spark yet again another war in the region. Host Mark Leonard is joined by Nicu Popescu, head of ECFR’s Wider Europe programme, ECFR’s Turkey expert Asli Aydıntaşbaş and Sophia Pugsley, Caucasus Regional Manager at International Alert. They explain the background to this conflict, why it…Listen to podcast

Michael Wong (cropped) - CC BY-NC

Rifts under sea and on land: The multiple crises in the Eastern Mediterranean

In the eastern Mediterranean, a scramble is under way between countries in the region for access to recently discovered gas fields, often overlapping with wider battle lines across the Middle East, historical tensions and far-back-reaching sentiments. Following up on last week’s conversation with spokesperson and close senior advisor to President Erdogan Ibrahim Kalin, this week’s episode analyses the crisis from a Greek, French, and Turkish perspective. Host Mark Leonard is joined by…Listen to podcast

picture alliance / AA | Turkish National Defense Ministry - ©

From fragility to vitality – Analysing von der Leyen’s #SOTEU

Ursula von der Leyen’s first State of the European Union speech was as long as it was broad in topics and calls for action. Host Mark Leonard is joined by Alexander Stubb, ECFR Board Member, Director of the European University Institute’s School of Transnational Governance and Former Prime Minister of Finland and Carlos Moedas Trustee at the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation and former European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation. Together they break down the speech and…Listen to podcast

European Union, 2020 - ©

Trump’s dirty tricks

Although US President Donald Trump’s efforts to undermine the election are shameless, they are still more subtle than the outright election rigging that one finds in places like Belarus. Like other authoritarian leaders, Trump is deploying a new anti-democratic politics that has yet to be fully comprehended. Together with Asli Aydintasbas, Jeremy Shapiro and Andrew Wilson, Mark Leonard depicts seven dirty tricks that Trump seems to be borrowing from e.g. Russian President Vladimir Putin…Listen to podcast

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Interview with Daniel Seidemann

In this special ECFR discussion, MENA Policy Fellow Hugh Lovatt interviews Daniel Seidemann, the Founder of Terrestrial Jerusalem and an Israeli attorney that specialises in the geopolitics of contemporary Jerusalem. Together they discuss the recent UAE – Israel normalisation deal, the threat to the status on the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif, whether a two-state solution is still achievable and what role European governments can play ahead of the US elections. This conversation was…Listen to podcast

Daniel Seidemann - ©

Surveillance and the inevitable AI future

In this week’s episode, we feature one of the focus sessions from our Annual Council Meeting this June. Policy Fellow Ulrike Franke moderated this online panel discussion featuring Marietje Schaake, International Director of Policy at Stanford University's Cyber Policy Centre and former Member of the European Parliament, and Carlos Moedas Trustee at the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation and former European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, European Commission. Is the…Listen to podcast

Jennifer Jacquemart | European Union, 2020 - ©

Protest movement in Belarus: Will Lukashenko survive the current state (of) crisis?

In this week’s episode, Jeremy Shapiro stepped in as host and welcomes senior policy fellows Kadri Liik and Andrew Wilson as well as political scientist and editor of “Belarus-Analysen” Olga Dryndova to the podcast. Together, they shed light on the situation on the ground in Belarus: what are the goals do of the opposition in Belarus and what kind, if any, strategy does it have for achieving them?  How does long-time president Lukashenko see the situation and what is the state’s strategy…Listen to podcast

picture alliance / AA | Marina Serebryakova - ©

If you stay ready, you don’t have to get ready: Rethinking global health security

“Defending the WHO is necessary but not sufficient to address the weaknesses that the corvid-19 crisis has revealed. Fundamentally, those weaknesses revolve around the interplay between, first, underfunded national and local health systems and second, international coordination which relies on goodwill and is too weak in a world of great power rivalry,” write Jonas Gahr Støre, Leader of the Norwegian Labour Party and former Health and Foreign Minister as well as David Miliband, CEO of…Listen to podcast

Yann Forget | Wikimedia Commons - CC BY-SA

Where there's a will, there's a way: France, Germany and EU coalition building

In this week’s episode, Mark Leonard presents the new and third edition of ECFR´s Coalition explorer, which also included special questions regarding the impact of the COVID-19 crisis. Together with policy fellows Ulrike Franke and Pawel Zerka, he analyses the collected data in-depth, answering the question of France’s and Germany´s role within the EU: How are the two countries perceived by their European partners? How can this power tandem influence EU policy-making? And what kind of…Listen to podcast

European Union, 2020 - ©

The Biden effect and the future of US-Europe relations | Part II

After last week’s discussion with Matt Duss and Jeremy Shapiro, Mark Leonard follows up by gathering the European views on a possible Biden win and its effect on US foreign policy. Vessela Tcherneva, deputy director of ECFR and head of our Sofia office, Jana Puglierin, head of ECFRs Berlin office, Tara Varma, head of ECFRs Paris office and Jeremy Shapiro, ECFR´s research director and in-house US expert analyse what a potential Biden administration would mean for European sovereignty and…Listen to podcast

Gage Skidmore (cropped) - CC BY-SA

The Biden effect and the future of US-Europe relations | Part I

The United States presidential election is approaching and there is no doubt that its result will have a significant and large-scale impact on global politics. Across the Atlantic, European analysts already started to discuss the possible outcomes and what they would mean for Europe and the transatlantic partnership. What changes would a Biden win bring? How could US foreign policy look like under him as President? How would it affect the US-Europe relations? In this week’s podcast, Mark…Listen to podcast

Gage Skidmore (cropped) - CC BY-SA

The EU’s budget and recovery fund deal – a historic moment for Europe?

The over 90-hour European Council summit in Brussels ended with a deal on a €1.82 trillion financial package. What does this deal mean for the future of Europe? Will the EU recovery fund, made up of €390 billion in grants and €360 billion in loans, be a historic change of our Europe and the eurozone, as Macron said? In this week’s podcast, Mark Leonard is joined by Guntram Wolff, Director of Bruegel, Piotr Buras, head of ECFR's Warsaw office and José Ignacio Torreblanca, head of ECFR's…Listen to podcast

European Union, 2020 - ©

It’s complicated: Europe-China relations in a world of superpower competition

Can Europe compete in today’s new geopolitical realities? Does the Union find itself in a technology war with China? And are at least cooperative solutions with China on climate policies possible? In this week’s podcast, Mark Leonard is joined by Agatha Kratz, Associate Director at Rhodium Group and expert on EU-China relations, Janka Oertel head of ECFR´s Asia programme as well as ECFR co-chair Carl Bildt, former Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Sweden. Together, they answer these…Listen to podcast

European Union, 2020 - ©

Solidarity and sovereignty: a “mission possible” for Germany’s EU Council Presidency?

In his opening remarks at our virtual Annual Council Meeting, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, spoke about Germany’s Presidency of the Council of the EU and the high expectations which are placed on it. According to him, the next six months will be centred around two things: solidarity and sovereignty. In this week’s podcast, Mark Leonard is joined by our expert Jana Puglierin, head of the Berlin office to discuss the German EU Presidency in detail. What are the biggest challenges?…Listen to podcast

European Union, 2020 - ©

Europe’s role in global health & how to build European health sovereignty

“If it’s about Europe´s role in global health, a big part of it is Europe's health sovereignty which we want to make one of the big topics of the German EU Council Presidency”, Germany’s Federal Minister of Health Jens Spahn said in our Virtual Annual Council Meeting. The coronavirus pandemic brought the issue of health sovereignty affront: how can health security be achieved across Europe? In this week’s podcast Mark Leonard is joined by our experts Tara Varma, head of the Paris office,…Listen to podcast

Jeyaratnam Caniceus

The covid-19 rupture: what will it mean for Europeans' security?

Even before the pandemic, Europeans had much to worry about: slow economies and polarised politics, rising global tensions and disorder, an unstable neighbourhood, and a heating planet. Covid-19's assault has only amplified such concerns, as well as exposing the fragility of much that Europeans have taken for granted about their lives; heightening the instinct to withdraw and protect; and raising the curtain on a major economic crisis. How will this rupture affect Europeans'…Listen to podcast

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Europe’s pandemic politics: How the virus has changed the public’s worldview

As covid-19 raged, speculation grew that the crisis would re- strengthen public support for the state; faith in experts; and both pro- and anti-Europeanism. But ECFR’s latest research reveals these all to be illusions. Instead, the crisis has revolutionised citizens’ perceptions of global order – scrambling the distinctions between nationalism and globalism. Host Mark Leonard is joined by Ivan Krastev, co-author of the new Unlock study and chair of the Centre for Liberal Strategies in…Listen to podcast

European Union 2018 - European Parliament (cropped) - CC BY-NC-ND

Europe’s way out of the coronavirus crisis: from self-interest to solidarity?

The coronavirus crisis brought about financial hardship for the European Union, and many agree that a recovery fund would be needed to overcome it. In the beginning, countries like Italy and Spain, in particular, felt left alone in dealing with this health, social and economic crisis. And still, support for financial burden-sharing is low in the “frugal” countries which would be the net contributors to such a recovery fund. But does this mean there is a general lack of solidarity in…Listen to podcast

European Union (cropped) - CC BY-NC-ND