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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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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

Fighting racism together: anti-racism protests in the US and Europe

The ongoing anti-racism demonstrations in the United States spurred by the brutal killing of George Floyd spread across the Atlantic. In many European countries, people are getting behind the cause and protesting racism and police violence against BIPOC. How are the demonstrations in France and Germany connected to the ones in the US? Is Europe also starting to confront racial injustice on its own soil? And what does it mean for the transatlantic relationship? In this week’s podcast Mark…Listen to podcast

GoToVan (cropped) - CC BY

Russia’s Syria, Turkey’s Libya?

The attempt of a peace process in Libya is facing several substantial hindrances, where a variety of actors keep on inducing significant upheavals in its territory. Recently Turkey was observed to use Libya more and more as a playing field for its advancements - with some arguing that Turkey is becoming the new Russia on the geopolitical stage. In this week’s podcast Mark Leonard is joined by ECFR policy fellows Asli Aydıntaşbaş, and Tarek Megerisi as well as Nicu Popescu, Director of…Listen to podcast

txmx 2 (cropped) - CC BY-NC-ND

How is covid-19 changing European economic sovereignty?

What does the corona crisis mean for economic coercion? How does it amplify some of the problems stemming from punitive economic measures Europeans have worried about? Finally, how might the structural changes in our economies – from the increased role of the state to value chain reviews – change the nature of economic coercion? Who might benefit and what does it mean for European governments and companies? A virtual roundtable discussion by our European Power Programme on 29 May 2020…Listen to podcast

ECFR Events

The EU recovery plan – rather a “Merkron” than a “Hamiltonian” moment?

The recent Franco-German proposal for an EU recovery fund sparked a lively debate on possible changes in EU’s nature, suggesting that the plan to raise €500bn through common EU debt and hand it out as grants, not loans, marks an important shift in EU policy. But is this really a “Hamiltonian” moment, as some labelled it? In this week’s podcast Mark Leonard welcomes Lykke Friis, ECFR co-chair and director of the Danish think tank EUROPA; ECFR Council Members Coen van Oostrom, Dutch-based…Listen to podcast

NATO (cropped) - CC BY-NC-ND

The last of the offended: Russia’s first post-Putin diplomats

Kadri Liik presented her latest policy brief "The last of the offended: Russia’s first post-Putin diplomats" in a webinar organised by the Rome Office on 25 May 2020. Russia’s new generation of foreign policy professionals brings with them a shift in attitudes that challenges the centrality of “the West” in Russian foreign policy. Today’s young professionals are often bitterly affected by “disillusionment” with the West, but the youngest of them – people in their 20s – are free of such…Listen to podcast


A triangle deal - How covid-19 is reshaping the global order and EU-China relations

Last year, the European Union published a strategic outlook in which it reviewed China as a partner, competitor and a strategic rival, creating a lively debate about the nature of the EU-China relations. However, this outlook was designed for a pre-corona world. How has covid-19 reshaped the EU-China relations? What changes to the global order will the pandemic bring? Who will be the main actors in the international arena? In this week’s podcast Mark Leonard welcomed Lanxin Xiang,…Listen to podcast

Xi Jinping and his delegation, during a meeting with the EU delegation, at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse - European Union, EC - Audiovisual Service - ©

“We are all in this together” - The coronavirus crisis as a collective emotional experience?

Emotions are an increasingly important part of contemporary politics. Strategies based on fear, nostalgia or hope are used by political leaders all over Europe to mobilize populations. Sociologist Karolina Wigura explored the role of emotions in times of corona in the latest episode of our ECFRQUARANTIMES series. In this week's podcast, this topic will be analysed further with a strong focus on the situation in Poland, the US and France. What are the dominant emotions in these countries?…Listen to podcast

Dan Gaken (cropped) - CC BY

How is covid-19 changing the transatlantic relationship?

How will the tensions around the response to the coronavirus play out through the recovery from this crisis? Can EU states, with their diverse perspectives on the transatlantic relationship, come to a common understanding on how to engage with the US bilaterally and multilaterally, in what will be a highly competitive environment? Virtual Roundtable Discussion with - Gérard Araud, former Ambassador of France to the United States. - Philip Gordon, Mary and David Boies Senior Fellow in…Listen to podcast

ECFR Events

Covid-19 as the first pandemic of globalisation

Epidemics like the coronavirus outbreak are a mirror for humanity. Mark Leonard talked in our ECFR QUARANTIMES session to Frank Snowden, Professor Emeritus of History and History of Medicine at Yale University, about how infectious diseases have shaped societies, inspired political reform, altered the outcome of wars, transformed religion, and entrenched racial and economic discrimination. What lessons can we draw from post pandemic's to prepare our politics, economies and societies for…Listen to podcast

The plague of Ashdod 1630 by Niccolò Possino

EU-China relations in times of covid-19

Covid-19 has upended life as we know it. While affecting business and politics within Europe, it also brings about a new set of questions with regard to our relationship with China. In this spiral of current events and increasing international mistrust, the Chinese leadership is trying very hard to shift the international narrative in its favour. The broader question of the future of EU-China relations predates the coronavirus crisis and has not disappeared, but becomes more urgent and…Listen to podcast

ECFR Events

An energizing side-effect? How covid-19 could revive multilateralism

Recently, we have seen funding cuts to the WHO in the middle of the coronavirus crisis and national governments closing borders instead of calling for a G20 or G7 summit. On the positive side, we heard Spanish Foreign Minister Arancha González in our ECFR Quarantimes session arguing that covid-19 could serve as a catalyst for multilateral solutions on global health. But do this week’s podcast guests agree? Mark Leonard is joined by Gunilla Carlsson, former Swedish Minister for…Listen to podcast

World Health Organisation (WHO) Regional Committee - CC BY-ND

Stumbling into its moment of truth: the EU’s debate over its economic response to covid-19

“We are at a moment of truth, which is to decide whether the European Union is a political project or just a market project. I think it’s a political project… We need financial transfers and solidarity, if only so that Europe holds on”, French President Emmanuel Macron said in an interview with the Financial Times. In yesterday’s virtual EU Council Meeting, the EU tried to rise to this challenge. But did it succeed? Host Mark Leonard is joined by Henrik Enderlein, President at the Hertie…Listen to podcast

EUCO Meeting 23 April 2020 (c) European Union - ©