Experts & Staff

Mark Leonard


Languages: English, French, German
Areas of Expertise: Geopolitics and Geoeconomics; China; EU-Russia relations; transatlantic relations; EU politics and 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, EU politics and institutions. 

Leonard hosts the weekly podcast "Mark Leonards's World in 30 Minutes" and 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 TimesLe MondeSüddeutsche ZeitungEl PaisGazeta WyborczaForeign Policy, the New Statesman, the Daily TelegraphThe EconomistTime, 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. 

Latest from Mark Leonard

  • Europe’s double bind

    Mark Leonard - 1 October, 2020

    The covid-19 pandemic has exposed a gap between European aspirations and actions. If European leaders are serious about defending rules-based multilateralism and securing the European Union’s interests in the twenty-first century, they will need to start coming to terms…

    I trucchetti di Trump

    Mark Leonard - 4 September, 2020

    Anche se gli sforzi del presidente americano Donald Trump per minare le elezioni sono spudorati, sono comunque più sottili delle vere e proprie manovre elettorali che avvengono in posti come la Bielorussia. Così come altri leader autoritari, Trump sta mettendo in…

    Trump’s dirty tricks

    Mark Leonard - 3 September, 2020

    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…

    The other Putin on Europe’s doorstep

    Mark Leonard - 4 August, 2020

    By weaponising immigration and launching new foreign adventures, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is increasingly acting like his Russian counterpart. And though such behaviour speaks to a deteriorating political situation at home, Europeans can no longer assume that…

    Europe’s self-help moment

    Mark Leonard - 30 June, 2020

    The covid-19 crisis has created an opening for stronger collective European action. But policymakers must understand that the demands of voters across the continent for greater cooperation do not reflect an appetite for institution-building, but rather a deeper anxiety about…

    Il risveglio degli Europei dal sogno della Cina

    Mark Leonard - 28 May, 2020

    Dopo anni di intensi rapporti economici bilaterali con la Cina, gli europei si sono improvvisamente resi conto di essere diventati pericolosamente dipendenti dal commercio e dagli investimenti cinesi.

    The End of Europe’s Chinese Dream

    Mark Leonard - 27 May, 2020

    After years of pursuing closer bilateral economic ties with China, Europeans have suddenly realised that they have become dangerously dependent on Chinese trade and investment.

    Спасяването на глобализацията

    Mark Leonard - 21 May, 2020

    Подобно на други скорошни системни кризи,…

    Il salvataggio della globalizzazione

    Mark Leonard - 8 May, 2020

    Come altre recenti crisi sistemiche, la pandemia di coronavirus ci ha messo di fronte a una scomoda verità: i rischi associati all'apertura internazionale potrebbero benissimo superare i vantaggi. Se vogliamo che i contesti multilaterali di oggi abbiano un futuro,…

    Salvaging globalisation

    Mark Leonard - 4 May, 2020

    Like other recent systemic crises, the coronavirus pandemic has confronted us with an inconvenient truth: the risks associated with international openness might very well outweigh the gains. If today’s multilateral frameworks are to have a future, they must be brought back…

    Leadership in a time of contagion

    Mark Leonard - 30 March, 2020

    Although the covid-19 pandemic has been compared to the 2008 financial crisis, the two episodes are quite different, not least in their cast of leading characters. Unlike the previous generation, today’s European leaders have been shaped by a decade of austerity, refugee…

    Brexit: fine del rimpallo per l’UE

    Mark Leonard - 24 February, 2020

    Dopo anni passati a osservare il Regno Unito affannarsi nella crisi politica, e godendo nel frattempo di un livello di unità senza precedenti, gli europei devono ora prepararsi a giorni più bui.


Email: [email protected]
Tel: +44 (0)20 7227 6860

@markhleonard on Twitter

Mark Leonard on Twitter