Languages: English, French, German
Areas of Expertise: Geopolitics and Geoeconomics; 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. His topics of focus include geopolitics and geoeconomics, China, and EU institutions.
Leonard 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 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. 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 is working on a forthcoming book on the same topic.
On Thursday EU leaders will meet in Brussels to discuss the EU budget for the next seven years. ECFR experts in Spain, the UK, Bulgaria, Denmark, France, Germany and Italy tell us what to expect.
by Mark Leonard - 15th November, 2012
Mark Leonard - 08 November 2012
The leadership election in the US and the selection in China are mirror images of each other. So are the challenges that each will face, with implications not just for the US and China, but for the rest of the world.
Mark Leonard - 29 October 2012
A fundamental shift in interests and outlook is leaving the United States and Germany with potentially irreconcilable differences. This widening divide between Berlin and Washington may threaten the entire Western alliance.
by Carl Bildt, Mark Leonard - 17th July, 2019
The EU needs to learn to think like a geopolitical power.
by Susi Dennison, Mark Leonard, and Pawel Zerka
With Teresa Coratella, Josef Janning, Andrzej Mendel-Nykorowycz, and José Ignacio Torreblanca - 19th June, 2019
The results of the European election confront EU leaders with a considerable challenge: navigating a new, more fragmented, and polarised political environment
by Susi Dennison, Mark Leonard, Adam Lury - 16th May, 2019
Support for membership of the European Union is currently high, but so too is pessimism about the future of the European project.
by Mark Leonard - 30th August, 2017
The EU’s survival depends on protecting its citizens from the forces it has created
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.
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.
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.
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?
This podcast was recorded on 27 January 2020.
During the Munich Strategy Forum 2019, host Mark Leonard sat down Toomas Ilves, the former president of Estonia aka the first smart country and “digital nation” in the world. What could we learn from this small EU member state when it comes to digitalisation? How did the digital revolution change foreign relations and international relations? And what role does Europe play it in? Frankly, does it play any role at all? Toomas Ilves points out how the lack of a common digital market puts the EU behind in advancing innovation and digitalisation in the 21st century. He urges Europe to finally merge the “two cultures” of sciences/tech and humanities to become a digital player in the world.
This podcast was recorded on 2 December 2019.
Today, 100 years ago, the Versailles Contract went into effect which established the League of the Nations and laid the foundations for multilateralism. In 2019, Germany and France launched the Alliance for Multilateralism aiming at showing that countries still "support multilateralism and support the United Nations (to) remain the majority in the world," as French Foreign Minister Le Drian said. Planning to establish a network of countries ready to join forces and efforts on inequality or climate change, the Alliance also wants the members to strongly commit to a rules-based international order. But how will this look like in reality? Christoph Heusgen, Permanent Representative of Germany to the United Nations, explains to Mark Leonard some concrete measures and how the old tale of the German-Franco friendship still serves as a role model for other countries for how to overcome decades of conflicts and rivalry.
Further information: www.multilateralism.org
This podcast was recorded on 3 December 2019.
With the US-killing of the Iranian military leader, Qassem Soleimani, the Middle East has been yet again sent in the heart to geopolitical uncertainty and frenzy. What does the killing mean for the future of the region, the Iran Nuclear Deal and the US role within it? Was there a strategy behind this offence and if yes, what kind? How should Europe react? In a special podcast edition, Mark Leonard talks with our senior policy fellows Ellie Geranmayeh, Jeremy Shapiro and Julien Barnes-Dacey about the implications for the neighbouring countries, Europe’s mediation role and whether there is a chance for de-escalation.
This podcast was recorded on 6 January 2020.
‘Tis the season! ...when Mark Leonard and Jeremy Shapiro review the year gone by and predict 10 foreign policy trends (plus two bonus ones) that will define 2020, the beginning of a new decade.
With a score of 6.5/10 they couldn’t sustain last year’s success but can still pat themselves on their backs - or what do you think? Let us know about your foreign policy predictions for the upcoming year.
Comment below or e-mail us!
This podcast was recorded on 16 December 2019.