Reports 2016

Political challengers East and West: Cut from the same cloth?

30 June 2016

While the past few years have seen a surge in support for political parties combining nativist, authoritarian and populist appeals across Europe, the manifestations of this phenomenon in Central and Eastern Europe – particularly in the context of the refugee/migrant crisis – have taken many aback. The element of surprise is not just that these former transitional, post-communist countries have become the standard-bearer for anti-migrant/Islam sentiment among the member states, but also that their fervent defence of the so-called Christian European homeland emerges almost exclusively from the political establishment and masks a broader illiberal agenda that has already got the European Commission fretting about respect for the rule of law. What has gone wrong in Central and Eastern Europe? Is it joining or turning away from the West? What are the underlying causes of what appears to be a growing trend? And what might constitute an appropriate response to this mounting challenge to the liberal order in Europe? This Policy Dialogue sought to address these and other questions from different geographical and ideological standpoints.

Speakers included: Corina Stratulat, Senior Policy Analyst at the European Policy Centre (EPC), Cas Mudde, Associate Professor at the University of Georgia in the United States, Cornelia Primosch, Brussels Correspondent for ORF in Austria, Takis Pappas, Associate Professor at the University of Macedonia in Thessaloniki, Greece, Rebecca Harms, Member of the European Parliament and co-President of the Greens/EFA Group