Experts & Staff


Mark Leonard

Director

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 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

  • Cover: Independence Play: Europe’s Pursuit of Strategic Autonomy

    Independence Play: Europe's Pursuit of Strategic Autonomy

    In the final episode of our special summer series on European strategic sovereignty, regular host Mark Leonard is joined by two of ECFR’s own experts: research director Jeremy Shapiro and Senior Policy Fellow and head of the Paris office Tara Varma. Topic of discussion is research led by Ulrike Franke and Tara Varma looking at how Europeans from all of the different EU member states see strategic autonomy. Is the idea of strategic sovereignty owned by the French? If it is, does French ownership pose a problem for the acceptance of the idea? What is the military component of European strategic sovereignty? What role is there for the UK after Brexit? These are some of the questions they discuss.

    The paper that is referred to can be found here: https://www.ecfr.eu/specials/scorecard/independence_play_europes_pursuit_of_strategic_autonomy 

    This podcast was recorded on Friday, August 30, 2019.

    Picture retrieved from: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Emmanuel_Macron_and_Angela_Merkel_(Frankfurter_Buchmesse_2017).jpg
    Public domain.

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    Will the Iran conflict break the West? (Commentary)

    Mark Leonard - 30 August 2019

    After months of both the United States and Iran taking a harder line against each other, Europe finds itself stuck between a rock and a hard place. If Iran pursues further brinkmanship in response to US provocation, European Union member states may decide they have no choice but to embrace the Trump administration’s containment strategy.

     
     

    Cover: Should Europe Take Sides in US-China Tech Wars?

    Should Europe Take Sides in US-China Tech Wars?

    As the US-China tech war escalates, techno-nationalism looks to replace global connectivity and collaboration. Helping ECFR director Mark Leonard understand the tech rivalry are Andrew Small, a senior transatlantic fellow at the German Marshall Fund, Tim Rühlig, a researcher at the Swedish Institute of International Affairs and Amy Studdart, a senior advisor at the International Republican Institute and Founder of the tech startup Villager. The all-star cast discuss the pressing questions: Will either side agree to a tech war truce? Will globalization unravel? What role will Europe play?

    The podcast was recorded on Tuesday, 16 July 2019.

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    A fistful of dollars: Europe and US sanctions (Commentary)

    Jonathan Hackenbroich & Mark Leonard - 15 August 2019

    The European Union needs an Office for Financial Asset Control to defend its home industry against sanctions


    Cover: Harnessing artificial intelligence

    Harnessing artificial intelligence

    In this episode of ECFR’s special summer series on European strategic sovereignty, Mark Leonard talks to Ulrike Franke, ECFR Policy Fellow, about artificial intelligence (AI). Mark asks Ulrike, who is currently on leave at the University of Oxford studying AI, where Europe stands compared to the United States and China in harnessing this promising new technology. More specifically, they look at the ingredients needed to develop good AI (talent, data and hardware) and ask to what extent Europe has them. The two end with a number of recommendations for Europe’s leaders as to what it can do to catch up with frontrunners US and China.

    The podcast was recorded Monday, July 15, 2019.

    Picture retrieved from pixabay: https://pixabay.com/illustrations/artificial-intelligence-brain-think-4389372/. 

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    Cover: Protecting Europe against hybrid threats

    Protecting Europe against hybrid threats

    In the third episode of ECFR’s summer series on strategic sovereignty, Mark Leonard talks to Gustav Gressel, Acting Director of the Wider Europe programme and Senior Policy Fellow at ECFR, about hybrid threats. Using Gressel’s recent paper on hybrid threats as a starting point, they discuss all elements of hybrid warfare: from sponsored proxy groups to propaganda war, and from economic pressure to cyber attacks. Importantly, they ask what impact hybrid warfare might have on European sovereignty.

    This podcast was recorded on Friday, 12 July, 2019.

    Picture:
    Cyber warfare specialists serving with the Maryland Air National Guard’s 175th Cyberspace Operations Group engage in weekend training at Warfield Air National Guard Base in Middle River, Md., June 3, 2017. Air Force photo by J.M. Eddins Jr.
    Public domain. Retrieved from: www.defense.gov/Newsroom/News/Art…-on-capitol-hill/

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    Cover: Meeting the Challenge of Secondary Sanctions

    Meeting the Challenge of Secondary Sanctions

    The second episode of ECFR’s summer series on strategic sovereignty explores the critical challenge that secondary sanctions pose for Europe, due to the Trump administration’s maximalist position on Iran. Joining Mark Leonard for a lively discussion of economic statecraft are Ellie Geranmayeh, a senior policy fellow at ECFR, Henry Farrell, a professor of political science and international affairs at George Washington University and Elizabeth Rosenberg, a senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security. They discuss how Europe could reduce its vulnerabilities to U.S. secondary sections, which – in the future - could target countries that are more important to the European economy, such as China and Russia. 

    This podcast was recorded on Tuesday, 23 July 2019.

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    Cover: Building Europeans’ Capacity to Defend Themselves

    Building Europeans' Capacity to Defend Themselves

    Mark Leonard launches ECFR’s special summer series on European sovereignty with a discussion of the continent’s security and defence policy. He is joined by Nick Witney, a senior policy fellow at ECFR with a wealth of experience in diplomacy and defence strategy. Witney discusses how today’s strategically-divergent Europeans can collectively bolster their defence capabilities to offset new pressures from Russia and the southern border as well as reduce their reliance on the Americans.

    This podcast was recorded on Friday, 12 July 2019.

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Contact

Email: [email protected]
Tel: +44 (0)20 7227 6869

@markhleonard on Twitter

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