Date: Thursday, 13 July 2023, 06:00 pm
Location: Robert Bosch Stiftung, Französische Straße 32, 10117 Berlin
Moderated by: Bilal Bağ, Project Manager, Robert Bosch Academy
  • Dr. Fiona Hill, Richard von Weizsäcker Fellow, Robert Bosch Academy; and Senior Fellow, Brookings Institution
  • Dr. Florian Ranft, Member of the Management Board, Das Progressive Zentrum
  • Dr. Anna Sobczak, EU Fellow, Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies, European University Institute


Regional inequalities in the U.S. and Europe have become politically dangerous and difficult to ignore. Regions hit by rapid deindustrialization since the 1980s, resulting in poor-quality education and other indices of poverty and inequality, have seen a marked rise in support for reactionary, anti-establishment politics. In 2016, geographic polarization combined with political fragmentation contributed to the election of Donald Trump in the U.S., the Brexit vote in the UK, and the rise of AfD in Germany.

In the U.S. in 2021-2022, the Biden administration introduced a series of legislative acts to augment the American welfare system and reduce spatial inequality. These efforts are similar in scope and scale to regionally focused policies long adopted in Germany and across the EU. This event will explore what lessons can be applied more broadly from German and European redevelopment efforts, as well as the U.S. and UK experiences, to reduce spatial inequality and political polarization and bolster social cohesion.

The discussion will focus on the following questions: How can Europe effectively bridge geographic economic divides given the rapid transformational processes already underway driven by technological and climate change? How can structural policies be redesigned to deliver economic and social perspectives for people in ways that also increase trust in democratic institutions and practices? What are the economic, social, and cultural potentials of so-called “left behind” places and regions in this current period of transformation? What role can individual, grassroots, philanthropic, and private-sector actors play?

The debate will be followed by a reception.

Registration for this event is closed.