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.
Mark Leonard - 10 April, 2014
"Da trent'anni cerchiamo di integrare la Russia nella comunità internazionale, e ora la stiamo isolando nuovamente" Queste parole, pronunciate da un funzionario britannico, riassumono il disappunto e lo smarrimento della diplomazia occidentale nel gestire la crisi con…
Mark Leonard talks to Ukraine expert Andrew Wilson and former top diplomat Robert Cooper about the crisis in Crimea, Russia's interests, and whether the EU has what it takes to solve the crisis. Bookshelf: Dimitri Trenin: The crisis in Crimea could lead the…
3 March, 2014
The key challenge for the West is to deter any possible Russian action in Eastern Ukraine, and pursue a twin-track policy aimed at de-escalation.
30 January, 2014
A comprehensive assessment of European foreign policy
Mark Leonard - 23 January, 2014
The Arab awakening is about people claiming democratic rights to emancipate themselves from the traditional influence of the West, rather than trying to join it. Instead of being a region mired in the past, the clash of modern practices in the Arab world might offer some lessons…
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
A British exit from the EU would make it harder to fight crime and terrorism, reduce Britain’s ability to lead and influence its partners, and weaken NATO
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…
Mark Leonard - 22 May, 2020
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…
15 May, 2020
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…
Mark Leonard - 7 May, 2020
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,…
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…
“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…
Word on the street seems to suggest that technology will be the way out of the coronavirus crisis and the lockdowns in many European countries. This seems to be confirmed by a multitude of projects such as the EU’s Pan-European Privacy-Preserving Proximity Tracing…
9 April, 2020
How is Russia dealing with covid-19? What impact does the pandemic have on the other underlying political issues in Russia – such as the change of the constitution and Putin’s decision to essentially stay in power until 2036? Our ECFR experts also point out the…