- September 13, 2023
- September 13, 2023
On September 13, 2023, the Aspen Institute Germany and the American Council on Germany hosted the ninth discussion in the virtual event series State-to-State: German-American State Legislator Dialogue with German and U.S. state legislators. While global challenges are traditionally addressed by national governments, increasingly subnational actors such as states, communities, and cities have stepped up to take action when nation-states have been unable to make progress due to political polarization and partisan gridlock. This trend has also characterized transatlantic relations and the German-American partnership.
The decline of certain industrial sectors poses particular challenges for the state level in both Germany and the United States. The effects of structural transformation, brought on by geopolitical and geo-economic developments, digitalization, and the increasing focus on decarbonization are notable in regions such as the Ruhr area (Ruhrgebiet) in Germany and the Rust Belt in the United States. As entire industries have folded, a lack of labor opportunities has led to an exodus of skilled workers and young people. This has accelerated an overall decline in public infrastructure and threatens social cohesion. Policymakers on both sides of the Atlantic have taken varied approaches to an overarching economic restructuring, offering an instructive comparative learning opportunity. In this panel discussion with state legislators from Germany and the United States, we will discuss the numerous consequences for affected regions, highlight various measures being taken to sustain regions hit hard by post-industrialization, and explore ways to ensure that such transformations can be successfully managed in the future.
We discussed these issues with Senator Dave Argall (Republican), Member of the Pennsylvania State Senate, Wibke Brems MdL (Alliance 90/Die Grünen), Chair of the Green Party in the State Parliament of North Rhine-Westphalia, and Romina Plonsker MdL (CDU), Member of the State Parliament of North Rhine-Westphalia.
This event is part of the State-to-State: German-American State Legislator Dialogue which the Aspen Institute Germany and the American Council on Germany have launched to provide a platform for subnational exchange amongst German and American state legislators and a broader audience on common transatlantic challenges. The project builds on Aspen Germany’s Laboratories of Democracy Initiative, a transatlantic exchange program for German and American state legislators.