State of the Unions

Revitalizing US-EU relations in challenging times – Mid-term & the War

14:30 - 17:30
Brussels, Belgium

The succession of Donald Trump by Joe Biden in the White House and the subsequent American “return to the world” has given a fresh impetus to the transatlantic relations, even though U.S. foreign policy still prioritizes East Asia and the China challenge. More recently, the war of Russia on Ukraine further reconnected Europe and the US, pushing the West to take actions jointly and coordinately against a common authoritarian threat. However, despite their revitalized relations, both Europe and the US continue to face pressing political, economic, and social issues domestically. The deep frictions in U.S. society and the persistent signs of democratic erosion could not simply be overcome following the change of administration. The recent setbacks in U.S. abortion law and the revelations of the 6th January Capitol hearings show that U.S. democracy is unstable. Trump’s false claims about election fraud still resonate among his supporters and he remains the preferred candidate for the 2024 Republican primaries. By its turn, President Biden’s approval rating achieves a record-low around the 30s, with nearly 80 percent of voters believing the country is heading in the wrong direction.

Against this backdrop, the U.S. mid-term elections in November 2022 look particularly challenging for the Democratic party. The vote happens in the context of major international developments, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, the conflict in Europe’s neighborhood, and the resulting global disruptions including rising inflation, food security, and the energy crisis. As a result, the mid-terms will be crucial to define the state of democracy in the U.S., its influence and ability to shape international politics, as well as the terms of transatlantic relations in the upcoming years. Happening in the context of rising polarization, divisions, and contestation, what do the mid-term elections reveal about the state of U.S. democracy? How to interpret the outcome of the mid-term elections and what are the implications for US internal politics and external relations? To analyze and discuss those issues, FEPS and the German Marshall Fund will bring together leading European and U.S. experts and policymakers at the 5th State of the Unions conference, a platform to promote better coordination and collaboration between the transatlantic partners in addressing the most challenging issues of our times. 

The event will consist of two sessions:

  • Session I: A Polarized Democracy and the Future of U.S. Politics
  • Session II: Implications of a new U.S. Congress for the EU and global politics

Location: NH Brussels EU Berlaymont, Brussels (Belgium)

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