The European Union has been described as "an economic giant but a political pygmy". Will its new Reform Treaty, currently being ratified by the member states, enable it to play a more powerful role in world affairs?
Dick Leonard wrote the best-selling book, The Economist Guide to the European Union (9 editions, translated into nine languages), widely recognised as the most authoritative guide to the EU. A former British Member of Parliament, he has been covering the European Union as a Brussels-based journalist for over 25 years.
A former Assistant Editor of The Economist, he has also worked for the BBC and The Observer and has contributed to leading newspapers in the United States, Canada, Australia, India, Japan and New Zealand, as well as the Brussels-based publications, European Voice and The Bulletin. He was for many years a contributing editor of the Washington-based magazine, Europe.
Apart from his work as a journalist, he has been a Professor at Brussels University (ULB), a senior consultant to the Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS), the well-known think tank, and European Advisor to the British publishing industry.
A long-term campaigner for British membership of the European Union, he was one of the minority of Labour MPs who voted in favour of British entry in 1971, despite the opposition of his party. During his time as an MP, he served as Parliamentary Private Secretary to Anthony Crosland, who was later Foreign Secretary.
Dick Leonard is the author or part-author of some 20 books, including Eminent Europeans, How to Win the Euro Referendum, Elections in Britain (five editions) and The Pro-European Reader, which he co-edited with his son, Mark Leonard. The ninth edition of his book, The Economist Guide to the European Union, published in 2005, has been widely and enthusiastically reviewed. Since then he has published the highly praised A Century of Premiers: Salisbury to Blair, to be followed by 19th British Century Premiers: Pitt to Rosebery, which will appear in May 2008.
A highly experienced broadcaster and public speaker, he has made five successful lecture tours in the United States and Canada, as well as lecturing regularly in London, Brussels and other European cities.