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 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 - 15 February, 2013
With his State of the Union address, President Obama combined the two most powerful tactics of modern politics – big speeches and big data – to spur political action. Are we witnessing a reinvention of representative democracy?
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.
Mark Leonard - 15 November, 2012
Europe needs to take more responsibility in its neighbourhood
New research reveals that the crisis has revolutionised citizens’ perceptions of global order – scrambling the distinctions between nationalism and globalism
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
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…
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…
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…
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…
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…
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,…