#BlueStarBrief January 2023

This Month in the #BlueStarBrief
We hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season. Please view our New Year's greeting card here. We also thank you for reading our monthly Blue Star Brief and welcome your comments.

Last year, several global crises including Russia's invasion of Ukraine, the energy crisis in Europe, and rising global inflation compounded existing challenges facing decision-makers such as collapsing supply chains and addressing climate change. In 2022, the U.S. also passed historic legislation aimed at addressing crumbling infrastructure, domestic chip manufacturing, and remediating climate change's most devastating impacts. In 2023, the political dynamics in the U.S. will no doubt change with Republicans leading the House of Representatives and Democrats continuing to control the Senate.
Here's what we have for you in this month's #BlueStarBrief:
Next Steps for the 118th U.S. Congress - Observations From Our U.S. Team
Sweden's Third Presidency of the EU Council - An Interview with the Swedish Embassy in Washington

Important Dates and Elections in 2023

Possible Next Steps: The U.S. Congress
By the Blue Star Strategies U.S. Team
As you know, the House of Representatives has a slim Republican majority and to become Speaker, Kevin McCarthy had to cut several "backroom deals" with conservatives to gain their votes.  Even after giving up much of the power of the Speaker, McCarthy could only garner sufficient votes to become Speaker with several members voting "present".  As part of his deal to get votes, McCarthy had to agree to significant and consequential changes in the House rules. Unlike in the Senate where the rules have been the same regardless of party control, the House adopts new rules for every new Congress.

So, what will be the impact? Conventional wisdom is that the House of Representatives will pass conservative measures that will go nowhere in the Senate - not only because the Senate is led by Democrats but because in practice 60 votes are required to pass any substantive legislation.  Indeed, when Nancy Pelosi was Speaker, progressive legislation passed by the House often failed in the Senate, but ultimately bi-partisan compromises were made that resulted in a national infrastructure bill and investment in the U.S. microchip industry. And those bi-partisan compromises were adopted in the House by Democrats and a small number of Republicans.

Read more of our thoughts, here.

Sweden's Third EU Presidency - An Interview with Björn Arvidsson, Head of Trade and Economic Affairs at the Swedish Embassy in Washington, D.C.

On January 1st, Sweden assumed the presidency of the EU Council. Sweden is the third and final country to assume the presidency under the current trio program of the EU presidency following France and the Czech Republic. Sweden's presidency comes amidst the backdrop of the ongoing war in Ukraine, the energy crisis in Europe, the ongoing climate crisis, and a cost-of-living crisis. With the war in Ukraine nearing its first anniversary, and Ukrainian armed forces in a strong position Sweden must continue the task to generate the support of European nations to strengthen peace in Europe in the future. This will require aligning EU members on a long-term strategy which includes future EU sanctions policy towards Russia, reaching a settlement to the conflict in Ukraine, planning for the reconstruction of Ukraine, and the further integration of nations in the west, including its accession to NATO.

Against this backdrop, we interviewed Björn to hear the Swedish government's perspectives on some of the topics related to Sweden's presidency.

Read the rest of the interview here.
Important Dates and Elections in 2023
Important Dates:

In the United States

  • February: The White House is expected to release its draft of the FY 2024 budget in early February. We will provide further updates as they become available.
  • February/March: President Biden is set to deliver his State of the Union Address sometime this Spring. It’s expected that Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy will invite Biden to deliver his State of the Union Address sometime in February. We will keep you updated.
  • October 1: Start of the federal government's FY 2024.

In Europe

  • January 1: Sweden takes over the rotating Presidency of the Council of the European Union.
  • February 24: Marks one year since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
  • May 6: The coronation of King Charles III at Westminster Abbey.
  • July 1: Spain takes over the rotating Presidency of the Council of the European Union.
  • September: President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen will deliver the State of the Union address to the Parliament.

In France

  • January 10: Presentation of a pension reform law bill by Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne.
  • January 19: Franco-Spanish Summit in Barcelona.
  • January 22: Franco-German Council of Ministers.
  • March 10: Franco-British Summit in Paris.
  • April: Presentation of a bill to favor green industry.
  • June: Presentation of an energy and climate programming bill.
  • Summer: Expected implementation of the pension reform law.
  • September: Presentation of the 2024 Budget bill and 2024 Health Budget bill.


  • March 16-19: Annual Meeting of the Boards of Governors of the IDB and IDB Invest in Panama.
  • April 10-16: IMF/World Bank Spring meetings to take place in Washington, DC.
  • May 19: Japan hosts the annual G7 summit in Hiroshima.
  • July 11-12: Lithuania will host the NATO summit in Vilnius.
  • September 9-10: India will host the G20 summit in New Delhi.
  • September 12-30: UNGA 78 will take place in New York City.
  • October 9-15: IMF/World Bank Annual Meetings to take place in Marrakesh, Morocco.
  • November 12: Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit with President Biden in San Francisco.
  • November 30 - December 12: COP28 will take place in Abu Dhabi.

Key Elections:

In the U.S.

  • April 4: State Supreme Court Elections in Wisconsin
  • October 14: Gubernatorial and General Elections in Louisiana
  • November 7:
    • Gubernatorial and General Elections in Kentucky and Mississippi
    • General Elections in New Jersey and Virginia

In Europe

  • January 13: Presidential Elections in the Czech Republic
  • January 21: Constitutional Referendum in Slovakia
  • February 5: Presidential Elections in Cyprus
  • March 5: General Elections in Estonia
  • April 2: Parliamentary Elections in Finland
  • May 7: Presidential Elections in Montenegro
  • June 24: General Elections in Turkey
  • July: Parliamentary Elections in Greece
  • September: Senate Elections in France (renewal of 170 seats out of 348)
  • October: Parliamentary Elections in Switzerland and Luxembourg
  • December 10: Parliamentary Elections in Spain
  • October 23: Parliamentary Elections in Ukraine
  • December 20: Parliamentary Elections in Belarus
  • Autumn: Parliamentary Elections in Poland (Exact Date TBD)

In Latin America and the Caribbean

  • January 18: General Elections in Antigua & Barbuda
  • February 5: Constitutional Referendum in Ecuador
  • March 26: Parliamentary Elections in Cuba
  • April 30: General Elections in Paraguay
  • May 15: Constitutional Convention in Chile
  • June 25: General Elections in Guatemala
  • October 22: General Elections in Argentina
  • October 29: Regional and Local Elections in Colombia
  • November 26: Constitutional Referendum in Chile

Thank you for reading this month’s #BlueStarBrief.

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