Michael Leigh

Michael Leigh

Senior Adjunct Professor of European Studies

SAIS Europe
Bologna, Italy


  • Europe
  • Middle East
  • Energy Issues
  • European Union and Transatlantic Relations
  • European Union Foreign Policy
  • French
  • Italian

Background and Education

Senior Adviser, German Marshall Fund of the United States, Brussels, Belgium. Director-General for Enlargement of the European Commission (2006-2011); Deputy Director-General for External Relations (2003-2006); cabinet member and official, European Commission (1977-2003); Assistant Professor of International Relations, SAIS Bologna Center (1976-1977); Lecturer in International Relations University of Sussex (1974-1976). Erskine Fellow (2017) University of Canterbury, New Zealand. Wilton Park Advisory Council; Covington, Brussels, Senior Adviser.

His research, writing and public speaking focus on the future of the EU, Brexit, enlargement, neighborhood policy; Turkey's relations with the EU, Europe's response to political change in the Mediterranean and Middle East; energy questions in the eastern Mediterranean; public opinion and foreign policy. He also has an interest in Asia-Pacific and its relations with Europe.

He holds a Bachelors degree in Philosophy, Politics and Economics from Oxford University and a Ph.D. in Political Science from M.I.T.

2017-06-27 00:00:00 
Fall 2018 
This course wil...
This course will focus on some of the main challenges facing the European Union. The course addresses three fundamental questions: 1) What drove European integration during its formative period and enabled such breakthroughs as the creation of the single market, the launch of the euro and enlargement from 6 to 28 member states? 2) What challenges have hindered the process of European integration and prevented it from achieving its full potential? This section of the course will focus on the single currency, neighbourhood policy, energy union, migration, foreign policy, security, defence, migration and Brexit. It will examine the rise of euro-scepticism and populism and their implications for the future of “the European project.” 3) Is the European Union headed toward further integration or disintegration? This question will be addressed through a scenario-building exercise.

Classes will involve lectures, discussions, presentations by guest speakers, debates, and a simulation of the Brexit negotiations. (Cross listed European and Eurasian Studies/International Political Economy)