Previously, she was a member of the executive team of the German Marshall Fund of the United States (GMF), serving as its senior director of research, as well as heading its Berlin office and Europe program. Prior to her work at GMF, Schwarzer spent eight years at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP), where she led its research group on European integration from 2008 to 2013. During this time, she advised Poland and France during their respective EU Council presidencies, served as a consultant to the Centre d’Analyse Stratégique for the French prime minister, and was a member of the “Europe” working group of the Whitebook Commission on Foreign and European Policy. Before joining SWP, she worked as an opinion page editor and France correspondent for Financial Times Deutschland.
Since 2014, Schwarzer has held a senior research professorship at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) in Washington, DC/Bologna. She was a Fritz Thyssen Fellow at Harvard University’s Weatherhead Center for International Affairs in 2012–13. Schwarzer taught for several years at the Freie Universität Berlin and at the Hertie School of Governance and has lectured at the Collège d’Europe in Bruges, the Institute of European Studies of Macau, and the Universität Salzburg. She serves on the advisory boards of the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR) and the Jacques Delors Institute in Paris and is a non-executive board member of BNP Paribas.