Center on the United States and Europe Director Thomas Wright lays out events, issues, and potential developments to watch for in the months ahead.
I am delighted to share with you the fifteenth edition of the Trans-Atlantic Scorecard, a quarterly evaluation of U.S.-European relations produced by Brookings’s Center on the United States and Europe.
The first quarter of 2022 in trans-Atlantic relations has been dominated by the Russian troop buildup on the border with Ukraine and launch of the invasion on February 24. This iteration of the Trans-Atlantic Scorecard offers a snapshot of the impact of the war on U.S.-Europe relations to date, as well as other developments from the quarter.
By the end of the quarter, five weeks into Russia’s war in Ukraine, U.S.-European relations had significantly improved since the end of the fourth quarter of 2021, from an average of 6.5 on a 1-10 scale to 8.1 at the end of the first quarter of 2022. Political and security relations are also up roughly 1.5 points each at 8, while economic relations increased more modestly to an average of 7. 85% of our survey pool saw U.S.-Europe relations trending positively overall, and respondents unanimously agreed that U.S.-European security relations had improved. Bilateral relations between the US and Germany, the US and France, the US and the U.K., the US and Turkey, and the US and EU all increased by over 1 point since the end of 2021, while US-Russia relations suffered a 0.6-point decrease, from the already quite low 1.9 to 1.3.
On the questions specific to events and developments of this quarter, respondents unanimously disagreed that there would be a full Russia-Ukraine ceasefire before April 30, 2022. 85% believe that the war in Ukraine will expedite Europe’s green energy transition, while 80% agreed that China’s position on Russia would damage EU-China relations (10% were neutral and 10% disagreed). 89% thought that U.K.-EU relations had improved since the Russian invasion of Ukraine. On the question of whether Macron would face widespread discontent, weakening his capacity for reforms, even if reelected, respondents were divided. 60% agreed, while 10% disagreed and 30% were neutral.
Looking ahead to the second quarter of 2022, our attention remains fixed on Russia and Ukraine. We will continue to closely follow trans-Atlantic security relations in the coming months, including how Germany’s historic shift in defense policy influences European security debates and possible Finnish and Swedish accession to NATO. With the French two days away from going to the polls to choose between the incumbent Emmanuel Macron and the far-right populist Marine Le Pen at the time of writing, we will also be watching the outcome of the election and impact on Europe and the world. Finally, as we look ahead to late spring and early summer, we will be watching the G-7 and NATO summits in June.
Thank you again for reading the Trans-Atlantic Scorecard.