Populism is a complex challenge to our democratic political systems, even more so in times of crisis. We are currently witnessing not only an economic crisis, but also a crisis of democracy, manifesting itself in a lack of mutual trust and of political and civil participation. Populist politics are on the rise in Europe, playing on nationalist, xenophobic, or anti-minorities views which are deeply rooted in society and breeding on the sense of omnipresent threat and perpetual crisis. Therefore, it is indispensable to act for new and different politics to balance freedom and security in our political discourses.
In this open debate we aim to explore the specificity of populist phenomena in Central Europe by comparing them with right-wing populism in Western Europe, as analyzed in the GEF publication “Populism in Europe”. The description of similarities and differences between populist practices and the analysis of governmental, party-based, movement-based, and personality-led manifestations of populism will facilitate the identification of threats and alternatives. In the debate we will focus on the roots of populism in Central Europe, the organizational manifestations of populist movements, and the relations between political culture and populism.
The debate will sum up and present conclusions formulated by participants of the preceding expert workshop, which will provide a space for the exchange of views and experiences between researchers and think-tank experts from Hungary, Austria, Poland, Germany, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic.
Prof. Agnieszka Rothert, Institute of Political Science, University of Warsaw
Dick Pels, Ph.D., Bureau De Helling, Netherlands
Mikołaj Cześnik, Ph.D., Warsaw School of Social Sciences and Humanities, Polish Academy of Sciences
Peter Učen, independent researcher, Slovakia
Moderation: Prof. Wawrzyniec Konarski, Institute of Area Studies, Jagiellonian University