Scholars

Michael Leigh

Senior Fellow

Expertise: Energy, Enlargement, Turkey, Middle East, Neighbourhood policy

Michael Leigh joined Bruegel as a senior fellow in February 2020. He is also Academic Director of the Masters in European Public Policy programme at Johns Hopkins University, School of Advanced International Studies in Bologna, Italy and a senior adviser on public policy and government affairs at Covington, Brussels. He was senior fellow at the German Marshall Fund (GMF) of the United States between 2011 and 2019 working on the EU, the Mediterranean, the Middle East and transatlantic relations. He was an Erskine fellow at the National Centre for Research on Europe at the University of Canterbury, New Zealand in 2017. He is a member of the Wilton Park Advisory Council (UK). He has advised governments, written and lectured extensively about “the future of Europe”, Brexit, energy, enlargement, Turkey, the Mediterranean, the Middle East and neighbourhood policy. He has facilitated a number of simulated negotiation exercises for Bruegel and SAIS-Europe.

He became director-general for enlargement at the European Commission in 2006 after serving for three years as external relations deputy director-general with responsibility for European Neighbourhood Policy, relations with Eastern Europe, Southern Caucasus, Central Asia, Middle East and the Mediterranean countries. Earlier he was chief negotiator with the Czech Republic and other candidate countries.

He took on his current roles after more than thirty years in EU institutions, including as a cabinet member for British and Dutch Commissioners and as director in the Task Force for the EU Accession Negotiations. He worked on the development of the single market and the common fisheries policy.  He began his career as lecturer in international relations at the University of Sussex and assistant professor of international relations at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies in Bologna, Italy. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Philosophy, Politics and Economics from Oxford University and a PhD in Political Science from M.I.T.

 

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Opinion

A tale of two pandemics

The two narratives briefly examined here cast light on different aspects of the EU in the times of Covid-19. Euroskeptic nationalists typically propagate claims of EU failure but have been rather subdued during the pandemic as mainstream governments have taken over their trademark policy of closing borders to foreigners. Nonetheless, the grip on power of several pro-EU mainstream leaders, including President Emmanuel Macron in France, Prime Minister Conte in Italy and Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez in Spain, remains tenuous.

By: Michael Leigh Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance Date: June 23, 2020
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Blog Post

Has COVID-19 dented the EU’s credibility in the Balkans?

Muddled initial reactions to the COVID-19 crisis tarnished the EU’s image in the Western Balkans. Europe should not take for granted the extent of its influence over its backyard in the face of Chinese and Russian charm offensives.

By: Aliénor Cameron and Michael Leigh Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance Date: June 15, 2020
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Book/Special report

A post-Brexit agreement for research and innovation

This report sets out what the Wellcome Trust and Bruegel have learned from a project to simulate a negotiation process between the UK and EU to create a post-Brexit research and innovation agreement. Our negotiating scenario assumed that the UK had left the EU with a withdrawal agreement, and that the negotiation was taking place during a ‘standstill’ transition period.

By: Michael Leigh, Beth Thompson and Reinhilde Veugelers Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance, Innovation & Competition Policy Date: January 28, 2020