The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on our democratic societies, posing unprecedented challenges to personal freedoms, the reliability of information and, ultimately, the ability of democratic institutions to cope with the rapidly changing societal demands. This adds up to a tumultuous decade for European democracy, that saw the rise of populism and anti-European sentiments fuelling disintegration drives.
This conference will bring together the results of three Horizon 2020 research projects, DEMOS, POPREBEL and PaCE, which have analysed the phenomenon of populism and its consequences for European democracies. Experts will discuss about the relevant insights and findings on the causes for this multifaceted phenomenon, with a specific focus on possible policy actions, recommendations and strategies for strengthening democratic values and practices.
Panels will explore:
- Demand and drivers for populism: general and specific socio-political drivers of popular support;
- Socioeconomic, political, and cultural implications of populism;
- Scenarios for remedial actions.
We look forward to seeing you on 19 May…. and don’t forget to bring your questions on understanding populism and your ideas on strengthening European democracy!
13:00 – 13:10 Welcome
Irene Norstedt, Director of the People Directorate, DG R&I, European Commission
13:10 – 14:05 Demand and drivers for populism: general and specific socio-political drivers of popular support
- The role of economic problems in driving support for populism (POPREBEL, DEMOS, and PACE)
- Socio-cultural factors behind populism: nationalism and religion (POPREBEL)
- A focus on competent government and not ignoring sections of the electorate in face of populist challenge (PaCE)
- Individual level variables: emotions, political knowledge, information, and values (DEMOS, POPREBEL)
Q&A with the participants
14:05 – 15:45 Socioeconomic, political, and cultural implications of populism
- Economic policy of populist governments (POPREBEL)
- How populist governments use the concept of constitutional identity to justify their authoritarian governance? (DEMOS)
- Populist cultural policy: delegitimasing liberal democracy and undermining of the EU’s positive image (POPREBEL)
- Populist information strategies, social media, and the commercialization of modern media (DEMOS and POPREBEL)
- The minorities targeted by populist actors and their reactions (DEMOS and POPREBEL)
- The COVID crisis and populist reactions (DEMOS)
- Anti-vaxx and other emerging issues (PaCE)
Q&A with the participants
15:45 – 16:00 Break
16:00 – 17:00 Scenarios for remedial actions
- Future scenarios and how to deal with the threat of right-wing populism in each of them? (POPREBEL)
- The role of deliberative policy making in countering populism (PaCE)
- Why and how civic education can be useful in countering populism? (DEMOS, PaCE, POPREBEL)
- Communication strategies: how to reduce polarisation in discussion address the heterogeneity and complexity of different groups and communities (PaCE)
Q&A and concluding remarks