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Does “Populism” Propose the Wrong Answers to the Right Questions?


Populism is a contested label in Europe. It signals a profound threat to representative democracy for some, and an antidemocratic fear of the mob for others.

Groups that have been labeled as populist in Europe include Jobbik in Hungary, the Danish People’s Party, Geert Wilders and the Partij Voor de Vrijheid in the Netherlands, and Casa Pound in Italy.

What, then, is populism?

Earlier this year, a group of policy researchers, activists, journalists, academics, and politicians discussed this question at a gathering in Budapest. Hear what some of these participants had to say in the videos above.

In 2014, European citizens vote in the most important European parliament elections to date. The place of populism and supposed populist candidates in these elections will be keenly observed. Already, some pundits predict that mainstream political parties will be punished by voters who chose to elect populist, far right, anti-EU candidates. In short, by next year, Europeans will have their say on who in Europe has the right and wrong answers.

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