Picking up the Pieces: Populism and the European Union

Sonam Kotadia, Justin Tomczyk


In recent years, populist parties have gained popularity and electoral significance throughout the European Union (EU). However, a string of defeats in important elections has caused many politicians and commentators to declare that the populist threat is over. The first section of this paper challenges this claim, arguing that populist parties have succeeded in shaking the hegemony of mainstream political parties. While the greater question of populism’s place in Europe has yet to be answered, we can expect major changes to occur in the European Union over the coming years. Part two of this paper will examine major policy directions that the European Union is expected to take following Europe’s populist wave. The main areas of focus of this section are a review of Brexit negotiations, illiberal democracies in Eastern Europe, development of the Common Foreign and Security Policy and progress in supranational institution activity.

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