On Saturday the 2nd June 2018, De Balie sought to analyse Europe’s populist turn with a special focus on how this manifests itself in different parts of Europe.
About the debate:
Populism is continuing to rise across Europe. Be it in recent elections in France and Germany or as part of a general surge in Eastern European countries like Poland, Hungary, and Romania, the influence of populist politicians is increasing. In 2000, populist parties were already able to gain more than 20% of the vote in two countries, however, in 2018, this is the case in ten EU states. Indeed, in Italy, a shocking 50% of people who went out to vote supported populist parties during the elections in March 2018.
How should we understand this surge of support for populist leaders and the growing dissatisfaction with the political establishment in Europe? Why does populism seem to have taken more of a hold in Central and Eastern European countries than in Western Europe? Is it only a matter of time before populist parties come to power in Western countries as well? What socio-political factors underlie the populist turn across Europe and the difference between the factors in Central and Eastern Europe and those in Western Europe?
With leading thinkers and analysts of Europe‘s populist developments, this debate discussed the current mood in Europe and delved into the reasons behind the populist turn.
Miss the debate? Watch the video highlights at the top of this page or click here to access a full-length recording of the debate.
To find out more about the Forum on European Culture, which this debate was part of, click here.
Ulrike Guérot is a German political thinker. In 2007, she opened the Berlin office of the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR) and has subsequently served as its director.
Ulrike is also the founder and director of the European Democracy Lab, a think tank which explores alternative conceptions of the European polity and generates innovative ideas for Europe.
In 2013, she co-wrote the Manifesto for a European Republic, in which she proposed a European Republic, with the aim of democratising the EU and trying to get European citizens involved in EU politics.
Jan-Werner Müller is a German author and a professor of politics at Princeton University, whose research interests include the history of modern political thought, democratic theory, constitutionalism, religion and politics and the normative dimensions of European integration.
In 2016, he published What is Populism?, which carefully examines one of the defining political characteristics of our age. He warns that populists are both willing and able to govern and may deform democracy in the process. This book gives a timely perspective on the pressing question of what populism actually is and, most importantly, how to respond to it.
Other recent publications by Jan-Werner Müller include Contesting Democracy: Political Ideas in Twentieth Century Europe (Yale UP, 2011) Constitutional Patriotism (Princeton UP, 2007) and A Dangerous Mind: Carl Schmitt in Post-War European Thought (Yale University Press, 2003). He also regularly contributes articles to The Guardian, the London Review of Books and The New York Review of Books.
Beyond his current role at Princeton, Jan-Werner Mueller has been a fellow at All Souls College, Oxford, the Collegium Budapest Institute for Advanced Study, the Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies, the Center for European Studies, Harvard University, the Remarque Institute, NYU, and the European University Institute, Florence. He has also been a member of the Institute of Advanced Study Princeton and has taught as a visiting professor at the EHESS, Paris, Sciences Po, Paris, as well as Humboldt University, Berlin, and LMU, Munich.
Sławomir Sierakowski is a Polish sociologist and political commentator. He is a founder and leader of Krytyka Polityczna [Political Critique], an Eastern European movement of liberal intellectuals, artists and activists, with branches in Germany, Ukraine and Russia.
Sławomir is also the director of the Institute for Advanced Study in Warsaw and the president of the Stanislaw Brzozowski Association, overseeing its publishing house, its online opinion site and its cultural centres in Warsaw, Gdansk, Łódź, Kyiv, Cieszyn and 20 smaller locations across Poland.
A graduate of the University of Warsaw, Mr. Sierakowski has been awarded fellowships from Yale, Princeton and Harvard and from the Institute for Human Sciences in Vienna. He has written for many journals, online magazines and newspapers, including The Guardian, El País, Haaretz, Die Tageszeitung, Project Syndicate, Social Europe and Gazeta Wyborcza. And, in autumn 2013, he also became a contributing opinion writer for The International New York Times.
Furthermore, Sławomir worked as a writer and actor on the films Mary Koszmary [Nightmares] (2008) and And Europe Will Be Stunned (2007-2011), produced by the Israeli-Dutch visual artist Yael Bartana.
Eelco Bosch van Rosenthal is a Dutch television journalist, best known as the American correspondent of NOS Journaal.
Eelco studied literature in Groningen, specialising in American Studies. Following his studies, he worked at the Dutch Embassy in Washington for a short amount of time before returning to work as a journalist in the Netherlands in 2012.
Dessislava Gavrilova is the initiator and coordinator of Time to Talk and a co-founder and chairwoman on the founders’ board of The Red House Centre for Culture and Debate in Sofia.
In 2005, Dessislava Gavrilova became the director of the Centre for Arts and Culture at the Central European University in Budapest. Previously, she had established and run the Open Society Institute’s Budapest Performing Arts Network [1997-2000], stimulating independent, artistic work and innovation across Central, Eastern Europe and the former Soviet republics.
She has also conducted research into British cultural policy at the University of Oxford, UK and holds an M.A. in Theatre Studies from the National Academy of Theatre and Film Arts, Sofia.
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Forum on European Culture:
This debate forms part of the Forum on European Culture, which took place in Amsterdam from the 31st May-3rd June 2018.
You can find out more about the forum and access a full programme, by clicking here and visiting our event page.
To find out more about the other Time to Talk debate which featured at the 2018 edition of the forum, click here.
This debate is part of Time to Talk‘s Understanding the Populist Turn: The Ex-Debates series and has been supported by a grant from the Open Society Foundation Institute in cooperation with the OSIFE of the Open Society Foundations.
This debate also forms part of the Forum on European Culture, which you can find out more about by clicking here.
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- Jan-Werner Müller on Populism (audio)
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- Q&A with Müller: Populism in Today’s World
- The People vs. Democracy?
- The Wrong Way to think about Populism