Ian Kearns

Topics: Economics & Geopolitics

Expertise: Brexit, Europe, Collapse: Europe after the European Union

Dr. Ian Kearns has over 25 years of experience working in the public, private and NGO sectors, the last 15 of them in organizational leadership positions.

He is a former Deputy Director and Acting Director of the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR), Britain’s leading progressive public policy think-tank, where he raised over £1 million in research funds and provided strategic direction to research teams working on digital government, the new digital economy, social exclusion, media policy, education, energy, health, foreign policy and domestic policing. He served as Director of IPPR North during its incubation phase in Newcastle, and as Deputy Chair of the IPPR All Party Commission on National Security (working to co-Chairs Lord George Robertson and Lord Paddy Ashdown). He represented IPPR to the media, parliamentarians, an eminent board of trustees and to a wide range of other stakeholders across industry and government.

Prior to this Ian was a Director in the Global Government Industry Practice of Electronic Data Systems (EDS), a $20bn a year IT services firm, working directly with the CEO of the EMEA business and for a variety of public sector clients around the world. During this period, he contributed to EDS thinking on delivery of public value through technology, worked extensively on the concept of smart cities, contributed visionary thinking to EDS public sector bid teams, and played a role in creating an EDS e-government partnership with the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard.

In 2011, Ian co-founded the European Leadership Network with former UK Defence Secretary, Des Browne. This is a high-level political, military and diplomatic network of former Prime Ministers, Foreign and Defence Ministers, diplomats and senior military figures drawn from across greater Europe and focused on conflict prevention and crisis management. He served as the ELN’s first Director through to July 2016, taking the organisation from the back of an envelope to a highly credible and well-respected feature of the policy landscape on European foreign policy and security issues. He also developed the ELN’s strategic events partnership with Salamanca Bank. He now serves on the organisation’s Executive Board of Directors, the membership of which can be found here.

Ian has written for The Guardian, The Times, The Independent, Newsweek, The New Statesman and many other outlets around the world and has been a frequent commentator on policy issues on the BBC and other major UK and international media outlets. He has served as speech writer and ghost op-ed writer to former Cabinet Ministers, senior politicians and business leaders. He currently provides public affairs and public policy advice to tech start-up CEO’s, and will shortly become CEO of The Oracle Partnership, a company focused on the delivery of agenda setting strategic foresight.

His new book, Collapse: Europe after the European Union, (a warning that the EU could collapse with catastrophic consequences if not reformed), was published by Biteback in April 2018.

It is now commonplace to hear people say the EU is embroiled in an existential crisis. Indeed, Brexit may mean the process of EU disintegration has already begun. However, while much political and journalistic attention is centred on describing the EU’s woes, far less attention is being paid to what the consequences of a disintegration would actually be. This book fills that gap.

From the terrorist and migration crises facing the Continent to the new threat from Russia, and from the Euro’s unending fragility to the rise of a new, Eurosceptic politics, this book tells the story of the biggest crisis to hit Europe since the end of the Second World War. It makes clear just what is at stake. With the EU in a far more fragile state than many realise, the book sets out the specific scenarios that could lead to the European Union’s collapse. It charts the catastrophic economic, political and geopolitical developments likely to follow should such a collapse occur. And it offers bold solutions to challenge those in positions of authority to build a new, reformed union, one capable of riding out the storm and of positioning Europe for success in the remainder of the twenty-first century.

Drawing on the author’s extensive network of senior political, diplomatic, military and business leaders from across the Continent, the book tells the story of Europe’s super-crisis from within. Both an urgent warning and a passionate call to action, it seeks to defend not just the EU but the seven decades of peace and progress the union represents.

“Kearns’s reasoning, impeccable or not, carries weight, based as it is on his experience of working in EU and NATO forums, and his clear-eyed observations of the events and movements that have reshaped the continent’s politics. His book is an unsparing account of the bleak state Europe is in—and it carries conviction.

– John Lloyd | Financial Times


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