Liberal democracies are under pressure, both worldwide and in Europe. For example, in Hungary and Poland, farright nationalist to nationalistic parties are in government and propagate an ‘illiberal’ democracy. The dismantling of democracy in an EU member state is not a national problem – it is a European one. The study makes clear the dilemma in which the EU finds itself and what possibilities for action are available to it.
The outcome of the Italian election is another wake-up call. Former centre-left and socialist voters now are being caught by 'modern' populist parties who claim to defend citizens' rights and fight against a corrupt political class as well as social and economic injustice.
Populism seems the new power of modern democracies. It is tricky to define and argue against it since it takes profit from democratic structures but at the same time is its fierce enemy. How to define populism? What are causes and possible solutions? How to act against it?
Center-left parties have to reinvent and reposition regarding the new world order shaped by globalization, digitalization and changing labour conditions. People expect new answers to migration, a growing life expectancy and a vision of a “modern welfare state”.
The referendum on UK's membership in the EU marks a unprecedented turning point in the history of the EU. Its effects cannot entirely be foreseen but it shows the current problem areas of the European integration project.
What strategies and actions can counter populist demagoguery and what is necessary to rebuild trust in the national and European political system(s) and restore their legitimacy in the eyes of European citizens?