Europe & the World Future of Democracy Event

Right-wing Populism and Political Disaffection in Europe

International Roundtable

The recent Polish and French elections are especially topical and worrying reminders of the current rise of right-wing populist parties all over Europe. To debate this urgent European problem, Das Progressive Zentrum, with support of the German Federal Ministry of Family, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth, organised an international roundtable, which took place on December 16, 2015 in Berlin.

Although right-wing populism is far from being a new phenomenon, recent results suggest a new strength and a rising influence on European politics. Studies claim that increasing political disaffection of citizens is one important factor leading to this development. A sustainable and successful strategy against right-wing populism therefore needs an exchange on an international level to identify effective approaches and instruments. To foster this exchange, das Progressive Zentrum, organised an international roundtable on the issue of „Right-wing Populism and Political Disaffection in Europe”. Our aim was to bring together experts from academia, politics, and civil society, assembling young, aspiring and more senior European stakeholders to engage in exclusive and fruitful discussions.

Our speakers included the well-known writers Robert Misik, Dr. Werner A. Perger, and Dr. René Cuperus. In addition, experts from seven European countries gave short inputs about the current situation and strategies against right-wing populism in their respective national context: Daniel Hegedűs on Hungary, Dr. Ben Stanley on Poland, Prof. Emilia Zankina on Bulgaria, Prof. Manos Papazoglou on Greece, Håkan Bengtsson on Sweden, and Claudia Chwalisz on the United Kingdom. While Dr. Tobias Dürr, chairman of Das Progressive Zentrum, made an introductory remark, Susann Rüthrich MP held a dinner speech on right-wing populism in Germany.

One result of the many discussions was that although the specific issues vary depending on the national context, the general challenge is the same. To counter right-wing populism effectively, we therefore need an increased exchange on a European level.


You can download the roundtable programme here.