- May 09, 2023
- May 13, 2023
The annual meeting of state legislators from Germany and the United States as part of the “Laboratories of Democracy” project provides an opportunity to foster values-based discussion and an exchange of ideas on common international policy challenges and best practices. This year, the first face-to-face meeting of the participating parliamentarians took place in Düsseldorf, Germany, May 9-13, 2023. In addition to general transatlantic topics, the focus was on structural change and the revitalization of post-industrial spaces.
The first meeting in Düsseldorf offered participating MEPs the opportunity to meet and exchange ideas with colleagues and experts and to build new transatlantic networks. The program began with a visit to the North Rhine-Westphalian state parliament and a welcome address by the president of the state parliament, André Kuper. Under the leadership of Angela Freimuth, member of the state parliament, an exchange with the NRW-US parliamentary group took place. In keeping with the main topics, the group explored the Düsseldorf’s Media Harbor.
The parliamentarians also visited the Thyssenkrupp steel plant in Duisburg-Nord, where they had the opportunity to exchange ideas over lunch and had a technical discussion. A visit to the Zollverein Coal Mine Industrial Complex in Essen, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, was also on the agenda for the parliamentarians. During a roundtable discussion, they then talked about the transformation of industrial spaces and had the opportunity to discuss the main topics at a joint dinner with guest speaker Viktoria Harbecke, Director of AmerikaHaus North Rhine-Westphalia.
With a visit to the “Fortuna” power plant, the German-American delegation took a look at an important site for energy production for the city of Düsseldorf. In another roundtable discussion, the topic of industry and innovation was discussed, looking at workforce development in times of structural change. In the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Industry, Climate Action and Energy of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia, they then exchanged views with Andreas Machwirth, Head of the Department for Relocation and Foreign Trade; Björn Schubert, Head of Department for Innovation Markets for the USA, among others, and Dr. Kathrin Bischoff, Head of Department for Innovation Markets, in line with the main topic. At a farewell dinner with Nathanael Liminski, Minister for Federal and European Affairs, International Affairs and Media and Head of the State Chancellery, the participants had another opportunity to exchange common ideas. On June 21-24, 2023, the second in-person meeting of the 2022 cohort will take place in in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.
The Aspen Institute Germany thanks all speakers and participants of the third cohort of the Laboratories of Democracy Initiative: Representative Jeramey Anderson (D), Member of the Mississippi House of Representatives; Senator Dave Argall (R), Member of the Pennsylvania State Senate; Franziska Baum(FDP), Member of the State Parliament of Thuringia; Wibke Brems (Alliance 90/Die Grünen), Chair of the Green Party in the State Parliament of North Rhine-Westphalia, Ricarda Budke (Alliance 90/Die Grünen), Member of the State Parliament of Brandenburg; Senator Hanna M. Gallo (D), President Pro Tempore of the Rhode Island State Senate; Christian Jung (FDP), Member of the State Parliament of Baden-Württemberg; Represenative Ryan E. Mackenzie (R), Member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives; Senator Kristen O’Shea (R), Member of the Kansas State Senate; Representative Kristiana Ortez (D) Member of the New Mexico House of Representatives; Representative Daniel Pae (R), Member of the Oklahoma House of Representatives; Sarah Phillip (SPD), SPD Parliamentary Director in the State Parliament of North Rhine-Westphalia; Romania Plonsker (CDU), Member of the State Parliament of North Rhine-Westphalia; Matthias Redlich (CDU), Member of the State Parliament of Saxony-Anhalt; Sebastian Striegel (Alliance 90/Die Grünen), Member of the State Parliament of Saxony-Anhalt; Representative Mike Yin (D), Minority Floor Leader of the Wyoming House of Representatives.
The project is supported by the Transatlantic Program of the Federal Republic of Germany, funded by the European Recovery Program (ERP) of the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action (BMWK).