Trans-Atlantic Scorecard – January 2020

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson welcome France's President Emmanuel Macron at the NATO leaders summit in Watford, Britain December 4, 2019. REUTERS/Christian Hartmann/Pool

Brookings - Robert Bosch Foundation Transatlantic Initiative Welcome to the sixth 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 (CUSE), as part of the Brookings – Robert Bosch Foundation Transatlantic Initiative. To produce the Scorecard, we poll Brookings scholars and other experts on the present state of U.S. relations with Europe — overall and in the political, security, and economic dimensions — as well as on the state of U.S. relations with five key countries and the European Union itself. We also ask about several major issues in the news. The poll for this edition of the survey was conducted January 6-17, 2020. The experts’ analysis is complemented by a Snapshot of the relationship over the previous three calendar months, including a timeline of significant moments, a tracker of President Trump’s telephone conversations with European leaders, figures presenting data relevant to the relationship, and CUSE Director Thomas Wright’s take on what to watch in the coming months.



October 3
Former Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni received broad support from the European Parliament’s Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs to become the next European commissioner for economic affairs and taxation.
October 3
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, European Council President Donald Tusk, Commission President-elect Ursula von der Leyen, and President of the European Parliament David Sassoli indicated their support for opening up the EU accession process to North Macedonia and Albania, saying in a letter to European heads of state that the countries have done “what we asked them to do.”
October 4
President Trump approved visa-free travel to the United States for Polish citizens, adding it to the list of 38 countries already participating in the visa waiver program.
October 6
President Trump spoke with President Erdoğan on the phone. A press statement issued following the call said that Turkey would move forward with “a long-planned operation into Northern Syria” and that U.S. troops would not be in the area. In a tweet, President Trump threatened Turkey with economic ruin if it “does anything that I…consider to be off limits.”
October 6
Portuguese Prime Minister António Costa won a plurality in the country’s parliamentary elections but failed to achieve a majority. Prime Minister Costa’s Socialists received 36.34% while the opposition center-right Social Democrats received 27.76% of the vote. Costa later received parliamentary approval for a minority government, having opted not to renew its informal alliance with the anti-capitalist Left Bloc and Communist parties.
October 8
The European Parliament approved European Commission Vice-Presidents Valdis Dombrovskis, Frans Timmermans, and Margrethe Vestager for the Commission postings entitled “An Economy that Works for the People,” the “European Green Deal,” and “A Europe Fit for the Digital Age,” respectively.
October 8
European Commission President-elect Ursula von der Leyen rejected Romania’s second attempt to propose an EU Commissioner, Socialist MEP Dan Nica. Romania’s first proposal, MEP Rovana Plumb, was accepted by President-elect von der Leyen, but rejected by the European Parliament due to an alleged conflict of interest stemming from an approximately €170,000 loan she had received to finance her electoral campaign.
October 8
Irish Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe proposed a new Irish budget in case of a no-deal Brexit, pledging €1.2 billion as a safeguard for “exposed” businesses.
October 9
Two people were killed and two others injured in an attack on a synagogue and kebab shop in Halle, Germany by an armed gunman, who live-streamed the attack on Twitch, an online video streaming platform.
October 9
Turkey launched a military incursion into northern Syria pushing Syrian Kurdish fighters away from the border. The move drew criticism from EU High Representative Federica Mogherini as well as other European leaders, who called on Turkey to halt the operation. In a letter, President Trump called on President Erdoğan to negotiate with General Mazloum Kobani of the Syrian Democratic Forces and again threatened to destroy the Turkish economy.
October 9
President Trump spoke with Prime Minister Johnson on the phone regarding the Turkish invasion of northern Syria.
October 10
The European Parliament overwhelmingly rejected Sylvie Goulard, the French nominee to head the European Commission portfolio for the internal market, industrial policy, and defense, over allegations of misusing EU funds and concerns regarding paid consulting work done for the U.S.-based think tank Berggruen Institute while she served as a member of the European Parliament.
October 10
The Romanian government led by Prime Minister Viorica Dăncilă lost a no-confidence vote. Prime Minister Dăncilă’s Social Democratic party had already lost its parliamentary majority in August when its coalition partner, the Alliance for Liberals and Democrats, quit the ruling coalition. New elections would be held on November 4.
October 10
Prime Minister Johnson and Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar met privately in northwest England to discuss Brexit negotiations and agreed that a pathway existed to a deal, which they said in a statement was in “everybody’s interests.”
October 11
President Trump spoke with President Macron on the phone.
October 13
Law and Justice (PiS) won parliamentary elections in Poland, taking 43.6% of the vote, while the main opposition party, Civic Coalition, won 27.24%. While PiS lost control of the Polish Senate, the results gave them an absolute majority in the Sejm, the lower house.
October 13
Hungarian opposition candidate Gergely Karácsony won the Budapest mayoral election, beating István Tarlós, an ally of Viktor Orban, by six points.
October 14
In Kyiv, thousands of people marched in protest against a peace plan backed by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy that would see elections held in areas of Ukraine controlled by Russian-backed separatists and a self-governing status granted, if the elections were deemed free and fair.
October 14
The foreign ministers of the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, and Slovakia called on the EU to open accession talks with North Macedonia and Albania, saying in an op-ed that the move would “reaffirm [the EU’s] commitment to the stability, security, democracy and prosperity of the region.”
October 14
The European Council pledged to suspend weapons exports to Turkey following its invasion of northern Syria and condemned the action, saying it “seriously undermines the stability and the security of the whole region.”
October 16
Italian President Sergio Mattarella visited President Trump at the White House.
October 16
After round the clock negotiations, the United Kingdom and the European Union reached an agreement on a revised Brexit deal. The new deal removed the unpopular “backstop” and replaced it with a Protocol on the Irish border, which would see Northern Ireland remain aligned to a “limited set of Single Market rules to avoid a hard border.” Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), whose ten MPs supported Prime Minister Johnson’s government, remained opposed to differential treatment for the region.
October 17
At the European Council summit, President Macron unilaterally blocked the opening of accession talks for North Macedonia and Albania, in favor of reforming the enlargement process and pushing for more reforms by the two countries.
October 17
European leaders agreed to the renegotiated Brexit deal, paving the way for a vote in the U.K. House of Commons to take the United Kingdom out of the EU ahead of an October 31 deadline.
October 17
Following negotiations between U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and President Erdoğan, a five-day ceasefire was announced for Turkey’s Operation Peace Spring.
October 18
Following a ruling by the WTO regarding EU subsidies for aircraft manufacturer Airbus, the United States imposed tariffs on $7.5 billion of European goods, including French wine, Italian cheese, and Scottish whisky.
October 19
In its first Saturday sitting in 37 years, the U.K. House of Commons declined to approve Prime Minister Johnson’s Brexit bill but instead forced the government to request an extension until the domestic legislation implementing Brexit was ratified.
October 19
After the EU’s failure to agree on opening accession talks, North Macedonian Prime Minister Zoran Zaev called for snap elections to be held as soon as possible. The elections were announced for April 12, 2020.
October 20
In elections in Switzerland, the far-right Swiss People’s Party came in first with 25.8% of the vote, a decrease of 3.6% compared to the 2015 elections. While the far-right were the overall winners of the election, the two green parties made the largest gains, increasing their vote share by 5.9%.
October 21
German Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer called for the Europeans to work with Turkey and Russia to create an internationally controlled security zone in northern Syria. German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas countered her proposal and said that it was too early to consider such an action.
October 22
Just before the end of the U.S.-brokered ceasefire, President Putin and President Erdoğan agreed to a deal that saw Turkish and Russian forces take control of parts of Syria once held by U.S. and Syrian Kurdish forces.
October 27
In regional elections in Umbria, long a stronghold for the Italian left, League candidate Donatella Tesei received over 57% of the vote with backing from the far-right Brothers of Italy and Forza Italia (led by former Prime Minister turned Member of the European Parliament, Silvio Berlusconi).
October 27
In regional elections in the German state of Thuringia, The Left, a far-left party, and the far-right Alternative for Germany won first and second place respectively, with 31% and 23.4% of the vote. The election was yet another blow to Germany’s governing coalition and underscored persistent divides between Germany’s East and West.
October 28
British members of Parliament rejected Prime Minister Johnson’s proposal to hold early elections, which failed to meet the required two-thirds threshold with only 299 out of 650 members supporting the legislation. With the Conservative Party lacking a governing majority, new elections were seen as crucial to passing Johnson’s Brexit bill. Shortly before the vote, the EU accepted Johnson’s request to extend the Brexit deadline to January 31. The next day, members of Parliament approved by a large margin a one-line amendment to the Fixed Term Parliament Act to hold elections on December 12.
October 29
European Commission President-elect Ursula von der Leyen nominated France’s Thierry Breton, the Chairman and CEO of French information technology company Atos, and Hungary’s Olivér Várhelyi, Hungary’s ambassador to the EU, for the European Commission’s internal market and enlargement portfolios respectively. She also called on Romania to submit its nomination.
October 30
European Commission President-elect Ursula von der Leyen again rejected the proposed Romanian Commissioner, Victor Negrescu, an MEP and former minister, claiming that the government of outgoing Romanian Prime Minister Viorica Dăncilă lacked the legitimacy to propose a commissioner.
October 30
The Danish Energy Agency announced that it would allow the Nord Stream 2 pipeline to cross through Danish waters, removing the last administrative hold on the pipeline’s completion.
October 30
Hungary vetoed a joint NATO declaration on Ukraine because it did not contain a reference to the rights of ethnic Hungarians living in Ukraine. The move came at a time when NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg was in Kyiv to demonstrate NATO’s support for Ukraine.
October 30
The German government announced new measures to force social media companies to proactively report illegal content, such as death threats or hate speech, to law enforcement.
October 31
John Bercow stepped down from his position as Speaker of the House of Commons. Sir Lindsay Hoyle was later elected as his replacement.
November 3
U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross said that the United States may not need to put tariffs on automobiles imported from Europe, saying that he hoped negotiations with individual companies would “bear enough fruit that it may not be necessary to put the 232 fully into effect,” referring to Section 232 of the 1962 Trade Expansion Act which the Trump administration has used to impose tariffs on steel and aluminum imports on national security grounds.
November 4
The Trump administration filed paperwork to formally withdraw the United States from the Paris Agreement on November 4, 2020. With its withdrawal, the United States would become the only country in the world to have withdrawn from the agreement.
November 4
In elections in Romania, the center-right National Liberal Party won a majority, paving the way for its leader, Ludovic Orban, to become Prime Minister.
November 5
In an op-ed, German finance minister Olaf Scholz called for the completion of the European banking union “to strengthen Europe’s sovereignty in an increasingly competitive world.”
November 5
The European Court of Justice ruled that Poland’s judicial reforms lowering the retirement age for judges and prosecutors were contrary to EU law.
November 5
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani announced that Iran would begin feeding uranium gas into the centrifuges at the Fordow enrichment facility, the latest breach of the 2015 nuclear agreement, which allowed Iran to maintain 1,044 empty centrifuges at the facility. At the time, it was unclear if this meant Iran would begin enriching uranium at the facility.
November 5
President Trump spoke with Prime Minister Johnson on the phone and discussed the U.S. operation that killed ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the continuing struggle against ISIS, and trade.
November 6
President Macron concluded a two-day trip to China. Traveling with a delegation of 30 European companies, Macron met with Chinese President Xi Jinping and announced an agreement between the EU and China to institute protections for European and Chinese regional food specialties to increase agricultural trade.
November 6
Prime Minister Johnson pledged in a speech to pass a Brexit deal on “Day One,” if provided with a majority in the House of Commons in the December 12 elections.
November 7
In an interview with The Economist, President Macron said that NATO was suffering from “brain death” and urged Europeans to take control of their own destiny, warning that the continent was “on the edge of a precipice.” In a speech, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg responded saying “the European Union cannot defend Europe.”
November 8
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo concluded a two-day trip to Germany, where he met with Chancellor Merkel, Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, and Finance Minister Olaf Scholz.
November 9
Germany celebrated the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. In a speech at the Bernauer Straße memorial, Chancellor Merkel labelled November 9 “a fateful day in German history.”
November 10
In parliamentary elections in Spain, Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez’s Socialist party won a plurality with 28% of the vote. Vox, Spain’s far-right party received 15% of the vote and became the third largest party. Sanchez’s Socialist party reached a tentative coalition agreement two days later to form a minority government with the far-left Unidas Podemos.
November 11
The International Atomic Energy Agency confirmed that Iran had begun enriching uranium at its Fordow facility, activity banned under the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). In a joint statement, Foreign Ministers Jean-Yves Le Drian of France, Heiko Maas of Germany, and Dominic Raab of the United Kingdom, and EU High Representative Federica Mogherini urged Iran to halt uranium enrichment and return to the limits set by the JCPOA.
November 12
President Trump spoke with President Macron on the phone to discuss Syria, trade, and Iran.
November 13
In a speech on his legacy as President of the European Council, Donald Tusk underscored the importance of EU unity and warned against European integration proceeding at different speeds, saying ,“I spent half of my life behind the Iron Curtain, in the Soviet sphere, under the Communist regime, so I know very well what a two-speed Europe really means.”
November 14
President Erdoğan visited President Trump at the White House, despite a push by Congress for President Trump to rescind the invitation in light of worsening U.S.-Turkish ties.
November 14
The United Kingdom informed the European Union that it would not nominate a Commissioner until after its December 12 election. With each member state legally required to nominate a Commissioner, the move raised concerns that the formation of the new Commission could be further delayed or that the legal legitimacy of the Commission would be undermined. The European Commission later launched infringement proceedings against the United Kingdom for refusing to nominate a Commissioner.
November 14
Thierry Breton, France’s nominee to be European Commissioner for the Internal Market, was confirmed by members of the European Parliament.
November 15
Following a government announcement of an abrupt increase in gas prices, massive protests broke out across Iran. After several days of protests, Amnesty International reported that over 100 people had been killed and over 1,000 arrested. On November 21, the EU issued a statement calling for Iran to restore internet access and for Iranian security services to show restraint.
November 18
The European Parliament confirmed Hungarian Commission nominee Oliver Várhelyi for the EU Neighborhood and Enlargement portfolio after he repeatedly issued assurances that he would not take orders from any national government. MEPs previously expressed concerns regarding Várhelyi’s independence from Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban. Várhelyi’s confirmation paved the way for the European Parliament to approve President-elect von der Leyen’s full Commission the following week.
November 20
At its party congress in Croatia, the EPP voted 491 to 37 to elect outgoing European Council President Donald Tusk as its President, a post previously held by Joseph Daul since 2013.
November 21
Newly elected President of the EPP Donald Tusk announced that the party would decide in January whether to expel Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s Fidesz party. Previously, the EPP had suspended Fidesz due to the party’s anti-EU rhetoric and anti-migration campaign linking outgoing Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker to George Soros.
November 25
France and Germany released a two-page plan calling for a “Conference on the Future of Europe,” a process of “broad consultation” and dialogue with civil society experts and citizens aimed at overhauling the functioning of the European Union. According to the document, the Conference was slated to begin in February 2020 with work on reforming elections and how key figures are designated in the EU and last until 2022.
November 27
The European Parliament voted 461 to 157, with 89 abstentions, to confirm European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and her full team of Commissioners, paving the way for the new Commission to enter office on December 1.
November 28
In a joint press conference with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, President Macron called for a “lucid, robust and demanding” dialogue with Russia, but said that Russia was part of Europe geographically, and that terrorism, not Russia, was NATO’s common enemy.
November 29
In a joint statement, Belgium, Denmark, the Netherlands, Norway, and Sweden announced their intention to join INSTEX, the financial mechanism established by France, Germany, and the United Kingdom to maintain trade with Iran. They also called for Iran to return to full compliance with the JCPOA.
November 29
An attacker armed with a knife killed two people on London Bridge before being shot by police. The attacker was revealed to previously been convicted in 2012 of “terrorism offenses.”
December 1
Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat announced he would step down in January. Muscat had been under increasing pressure due to revelations linking the 2017 murder of investigative journalist Caruna Galizia to members of his government.
December 2
In an op-ed, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo outlined the security risks posed by Huawei and urged that “European countries not give control of their critical infrastructure to Chinese tech giants like Huawei, or ZTE.”
December 3
Finnish Prime Minister Antti Rinne resigned after the Center Party, a member of his five-party coalition government, accused him of misleading the parliament regarding an ongoing postal strike and withdrew its support. This resignation came as Finland was concluding its six-month Presidency of the Council of the European Union and overseeing the final stage of negotiations on the next EU budget.
December 4
The NATO leaders summit marking the 70th anniversary of the alliance concluded in London. The summit saw a rare role reversal, with President Macron taking President Trump’s place as NATO’s chief critic. The declaration issued after the summit again highlighted the Alliance’s commitment to mutual self-defense under Article 5 and noted both Russia’s “aggressive actions” and terrorism as key threats to trans-Atlantic security.
December 4
The European Environment Agency published its quinquennial report on the state of the environment. The report called for urgent action for Europe to meet its 2030 sustainability goals and for Europe to go beyond a framework of simply promoting economic growth while managing harmful side effects.
December 8
Finnish Transportation Minister Sanna Marin was selected by the Finnish Social Democratic Party to succeed Antti Rinne as Prime Minister of Finland. When voted in by the Finnish Parliament on December 10, she became the world’s youngest serving prime minister at age 34.
December 9
President Putin and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy met in the Normandy format with President Macron and Chancellor Merkel to discuss the ongoing war in eastern Ukraine. After nine hours of talks, Presidents Putin and Zelenskiy agreed to exchange all prisoners by the end of 2019 and to work towards local elections in the Donbass over the next four months until the next scheduled Normandy format meeting.
December 10
President Trump met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at the White House to discuss trade, Iran, and election meddling, among other issues. After the meeting, Lavrov disputed that he had discussed Russian election meddling with President Trump and Secretary of State Pompeo.
December 10
In a speech and an op-ed, EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced a new European Green Deal to overhaul the European economy by “reconcil[ing] the economy with our planet.” The initiative included a goal of net zero carbon emissions by 2050, a call for new standards to create a circular economy, and a transition fund to induce states to sign up for 2030 and 2050 targets.
December 10
The terms of two of the last three judges on the World Trade Organization’s appellate body, which rules on trade dispute cases, expired. With at least three judges required to issue decisions, the appellate body would be unable to rule on future trade disputes. The past three U.S. administrations have blocked judges’ appointments to protest how the WTO handles trade disputes.
December 12
Prime Minister Johnson’s Conservative party won a decisive majority in snap elections, flipping many long-held Labour seats in northeastern England. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said he would not lead Labour into another election. Prime Minister Johnson declared the election result a “powerful new mandate to get Brexit done.”
December 15
The COP25 climate talks concluded in Madrid after being extended for two additional days of negotiations. Countries agreed to issue new climate pledges for COP26 in Glasgow, but did not agree on more difficult issues like carbon markets. In response, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said that the “international community lost an important opportunity to show increased ambition […] to tackle the climate crisis.”
December 16
President Trump spoke on the phone with Prime Minister Johnson to congratulate him on the result of the December 12 U.K. general election.
December 18
As part of the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act, the U.S. Senate approved provisions to sanction companies involved with the construction of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline project. The bill called for actors involved in the pipe-laying for Nord Stream 2 to be identified within 60 days, but also allowed for a 30-day wind-down period. Allseas, one of the energy companies involved in laying pipes for the project, announced on December 21 that it would end its participation in the project to avoid U.S. sanctions.
December 18
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen declared that a failure to negotiate a trade deal with the United Kingdom after Brexit would harm the United Kingdom more than the EU and that Prime Minister Johnson’s December 2020 deadline presented an “extremely challenging” timetable for complex negotiations.
December 20
The U.K. House of Commons passed Prime Minister Johnson’s Brexit bill by a margin of 358 to 234. While the bill would still need to be ratified by both the House of Lords and European Parliament, the vote set the stage for the United Kingdom to leave the European Union on January 31.
December 28
The Austrian People’s Party, led by former Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, came to a preliminary coalition agreement with the Austrian Green Party following three months of negotiations following snap elections in September. The Greens’ Federal Congress would meet on January 4 to vote on the agreement.
December 29
President Trump spoke on the phone with President Putin to discuss combatting terrorism and other issues.
December 29
Ukraine exchanged dozens of prisoners with Russian-backed separatists in the country’s eastern regions. Negotiated in a meeting with President Putin on December 9 in Paris, the exchange marked a success for Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, who had vowed to free all detainees and negotiate an end to the conflict in Ukraine’s East.

Europe on the line

Tracking President Trump’s reported phone conversations with European leaders.


Between October 1 and December 31, 2019, President Trump spoke on the phone with U.K. Prime Minister Johnson three times (October 9, November 5, December 6), French President Macron twice (October 11, November 11), Turkish President Erdoğan once (October 6), European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen once (December 17), and Russian President Putin once (December 29). President Trump last spoke on the phone with German Chancellor Merkel on March 22, 2019.

Tracking President Trump’s reported phone conversations with European leaders
We track Trump’s phone calls with the leaders of France, Germany, Russia, Turkey, and the United Kingdom, whether they have spoken or not, as well as other calls with European leaders of which we are aware. The White House stopped releasing readouts of the president’s calls with foreign leaders in July 2018. If we’ve missed a conversation, please give us a ring. Source:,,,,,, press reports.


Global climate record


The last quarter of 2019 saw several important developments regarding action to counter climate change and revealed substantial trans-Atlantic differences. As noted in our timeline, the United States, under President Trump, filed paperwork in November to officially withdraw from the Paris Agreement. The withdrawal will take effect within a year, making the United States the only country in the world to have left the Agreement. The European Environment Agency’s new report on the state of the environment issued a dramatic call to adopt a more aggressive strategy to counter climate change, saying “Europe’s environment is at a tipping point. We have a narrow window of opportunity in the next decade to scale up measures to protect nature.”



From a per capita perspective, the record of the world’s largest powers on CO2 emissions is mixed. While countries like the United States and United Kingdom have reduced their per capita emissions by 23.04% and 40.03% respectively over the timeframe 2000 to 2018, others like China or India have dramatically increased their emissions, by 177.96% and 106.67% respectively over this same period. On average from 2000 to 2018, global per capita CO2 emissions increased by 19.16%. Yet an examination of CO2 emissions pegged to GDP reveals that from 1990 to 2018, countries across the board became more efficient, from an emissions perspective. In particular, China and the United Kingdom, while occupying opposite ends of the emissions-GDP spectrum, both showed 64% decreases in terms of CO2 emissions when compared to their GDP.


With respect to each country’s Nationally Determined Contributions, goals set under the Paris Agreement to reduce absolute levels of emissions, the picture is also highly mixed. A clear divide is also perceptible between developing economies and more established economies, with the former setting NDC’s tied to GDP in order to allow for further growth and the latter setting absolute emissions reduction goals.



China, with the 2020 goal of reducing its level of CO2 emissions per unit of GDP by 40-45% from its 2005 level, reduced its CO2 emissions pegged to GDP by 40.75%. India, however, with the 2020 goal of reducing its CO2 emissions per unit of GDP by 20-25% from its 2005 level, only saw a decrease of 9.16% by 2018. The United States, with the 2020 goal of decreasing its absolute greenhouse gas emissions by 17% compared to 2005, reduced overall CO2 emissions by 11.29% between 2005 and 2018. The EU, with the 2020 goal of an absolute 20% reduction of its 1990 greenhouse gas emissions, recorded a 21.58% decrease in absolute fossil CO2 emissions per year between 1990 and 2018. Russia, which set an absolute emissions reduction target of 15-25% on its 1990 level, saw a 25.77% reduction in overall fossil CO2 emissions per year between 1990 and 2018.


The United Kingdom’s December 12 general election in context


On December 12, the United Kingdom held snap Parliamentary elections. With Prime Minister Johnson lacking a majority to pass a renegotiated Brexit deal, these elections were crucial to breaking the Parliamentary deadlock. The result was a dramatic victory for Johnson’s Conservative Party, as the below charts will show. With 365 seats in the House of Commons, Prime Minister Johnson secured the largest Conservative majority since 1987, when Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher’s Conservatives won 376 seats.



The election was also notable for the cratering of the Labour Party. Dogged by accusations of anti-Semitism among its leadership and championing a starkly left-wing political agenda, the Labour party, led by Jeremy Corbyn, won 202 seats, the worst showing by either of the U.K.’s major parties since 2005 and Labour’s worst performance since 1935.



The election saw the Scottish National Party (SNP) win 48 of Scotland’s total 59 seats, increasing its total in the House of Commons by 13. In stark contrast, Labour won a single seat in Scotland, down from a total of 41 in 2010, and the Conservative Party saw its gains from the 2017 parliamentary election halved.


What to watch

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 sixth 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, as part of the Brookings – Robert Bosch Foundation Transatlantic Initiative.


The latest iteration of the Scorecard shows a modest improvement in U.S. relations with the United Kingdom, while other scores remain stable. This is most likely a consequence of Boris Johnson’s victory in the 2019 General Election and the near certainty that Brexit will now occur on January 31, 2020, an event President Trump has long supported. Otherwise, relations with Europe remain poor, but not catastrophic. There are trade tensions, but no all-out trade war. There is little trust in security relations, especially after the surprise killing of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani, but the United States remains in NATO.


We will be watching several other things in the months to come.


First, we will be looking to see if the upcoming U.S. presidential election affects trans-Atlantic relations. Will President Trump turn to auto-tariffs if Democrats pull ahead in the industrial Midwest? Will he put pressure on NATO as a means of demonstrating his America First credentials?


Second, will the U.K.’s decision on whether to exclude Huawei from its 5G network be detrimental to U.S.-U.K. relations? The United States has made it clear that it strongly opposes including Huawei, even in a limited way. There has been speculation that Washington could make a Free Trade Agreement contingent on this decision.


Third, what will the dynamics be like at the Munich Security Conference in February? What will take top billing—China or the Middle East? What note will the U.S. Secretary of Defense, Mark Esper, strike on burden sharing? And if President Macron makes an appearance, will he build on his interview with The Economist?


Thank you for reading the Trans-Atlantic Scorecard.

Trans-Atlantic Scorecard maintained by Agneska Bloch, Sam Denney, and Filippos Letsas. Additional research by Cassandra Heward and Jérôme Nicolaï. Digital design and web development by Eric Abalahin, Abigail Kaunda, Yohann Paris, Rachel Slattery, and Cameron Zotter.