Understanding populism and defending Europe’s democracies

Stay strong and resilient against populism: Developing a new positive narrative
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Understanding populism and defending Europe’s democracies

In order to preserve Europe’s democracies against populism a multi-faceted approach needs to be adopted. In order to do so, it is firstly important to address the fundamental causes of populism which incorporate financial disparity, social division and cultural anxiety (Noury and Roland, 2020). In this sense, it is vital for governments to work towards addressing these issues through policies that advance comprehensive financial development, social cohesion, and social integration.

Secondly, the protection of democratic institutions and ideologies is vital (Aksoy et al., 2018). This includes protecting the rule of law, ensuring the independence of the judiciary, and protecting the freedom of the press. It also involves promoting transparency and accountability in government, and strengthening civil society to provide a check on the power of elected officials (Algan et al., 2017).

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Thirdly, it is important to engage with populist movements and leaders in a constructive manner. This involves listening to the concerns of populism’s supporters and addressing them in a way that is consistent with democratic values (Galston, 2018). It also involves challenging populist leaders when they undermine democratic institutions and norms, and offering a clear and compelling alternative vision for the future.

In addition, it is important to promote European unity and cooperation. Populism often prospers on division and resentment, and can be fuelled by external threats or perceived threats to national identity. Through a promotion of a sense of cooperation and unity within Europe, the appeal of populist movement can be reduced which can consequently lead to the creation of a more stable  future for all Europeans.

Understanding populism and defending Europe’s democracies
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