In the USA the European elections are of “zero” interest

«The European Union is one of the most ambitious political experiments in the world». He is convinced of this New York Times which, three weeks before the EU elections scheduled for 6 to 9 June, questions itself on the meaning of this electoral appointment and above all tries to provide a real handbook about voting for millions of American citizens who, at best, have a very vague idea of ​​what it is about. Then there is CNN which speaks of the “unprecedented growth” of the most radical exponents and formations, with a certain apprehension linked to the hypothesis that this will weaken the European ally. “The bloc of 27 could become more vulnerable to adversary states that aim to damage” the EU, explains the TV channel, with an indirect reference to Russia and China.

This is what the general media propose but the reality among ordinary people in the country of Stars and Stripes is very different.

«Americans in general know very little about what is happening in Europe. The only people who know about it are the political representatives here in Washington and, to a minimal extent, the media, but as soon as you leave the capital people often don't even know that an EU Commission exists”, confirms Francesco Isgro, president and CEO of Casa Italiana Socio-cultural Center/Italian American Museum in Washington DC.

«Beyond the New York Times or of Washington Post, the EU is not an issue that interests America, because America is not Washington. Here we live as if in a bubble: the real attention of US voters concerns above all the issue of immigration, “our” immigration from the southern border, which represents a concern. It is no coincidence that it is also at the center of debates among Democrats, not just Republicans, because it is perceived as out of control”, adds Isgro, lawyer and former professor of Immigration Law and International Law at Georgetown University.

«Americans do not have a clear idea of ​​what Europe is, much less of the upcoming elections, they know the individual states, such as Italy, which is seen as an ideal tourist destination for its artistic and natural beauty, for its cooking and fashion. Politically, Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni had some visibility on the occasion of her visit to the White House in March, but as for the rest, the only issue that took center stage in the past in relations between the USA and Europe concerned NATO, when with the Trump presidency feared an exit from the Atlantic pact. For the rest, Americans think more of “their home” and this is not represented either by Europe or by Washington or by the few other big cities.”

In fact, if you move away from the capital even just a few miles, the sensation becomes even more pronounced. In Virginia, for example, few are aware of the European elections and even fewer appreciate their significance. Europe is seen as a collection of states. Yet in Norfolk, a three and a half hour drive from Washington, is the headquarters of Allied Command Transformation of NATO, where the armed forces of the Old Continent work side by side with those of the Americans and the other member countries of the Atlantic Pact. But if you ask residents what they think of the European vote, the answers are very vague: “I didn't know there were elections,” replies Cindy R., who lives in Virginia Beach in a neighborhood where several of the so-called NATO family. «It will certainly be an important event for you, but here we are entering the heart of the electoral campaign for the November presidential elections, ready for a new duel between Donald Trump and Joe Biden. Who are the candidates in Europe?” he asks. «I am not well informed about what is happening in Brussels, I just hope that nothing changes regarding the war in Ukraine with Russia», adds Debora T.

The further we move away from large metropolises, such as Washington or New York, the more the future of Brussels is read from an “American perspective”, as a possible factor of destabilization for the USA in the event of the rise of far-right groups. An example of this is what he writes Pittsburgh Post Gazette, newspaper from Pennsylvania, a state of 12.3 million inhabitants, the sixth largest and governed by Democrat Josh Shapiro. In underlining how the European voting system, unlike the American one, leaves ample room for obstructionism even to the opponents, the newspaper underlines the growth of the parties of the so-called far-right, for a few years now. But even in this case what is worrying are the possible consequences. “Far-right parties offer an idealized return to the past, protection of their national identity and the promise of increasing “national” solutions” to problems such as immigration, tax pressure and climate change, underlines Ronald H. Linden, professor emeritus in political science at the University of Pittsburgh. Expert in relations between Russia and Eastern Europe, former research director for Radio Free Europeis also the author of an eloquent book on the point of view of relations between the USA and Europe, “Donald Trump is wrong: America needs NATO”. Now, on the eve of the European vote, Linden adds: «The problems that they (EuropeansEd) – and we ourselves – face how climate change, desperate migration and disease typically do not respect national borders.” Nonetheless, political choices and debates do not often even cross the ocean.