Europe’s far-right and populist parties are heralding a “Patriotic Spring”. Far-right leaders gathered near Vienna on Friday 17 June 2016, making speeches railing against immigration and the European Union, and pledging to restore national sovereignty. The meeting was hosted by Heinz-Christian Strache, Chairman of Austria’s Freedom Party (FPÖ), and included Marine Le Pen of France’s National Front, as well as representatives from Alternative for Germany (AfD) and Italy’s Northern League.

Strache called for the restoration of nationalist pride and a “Europe of fatherlands”, while AfD politician Marcus Pretzell argued that Europeans should look to their past: “Patriots love what Germany once was, what Germany could be…”

Instead of fearing for the future of democracy, is the rise of populist parties a sign that democracy is healthy and well in Europe? Is this a chance for anti-establishment forces to kick out unpopular mainstream parties, who have failed to steer Europe out of crisis? We had a comment sent in from Klassen, arguing that “Europhiles” should “back down and let democracy work”. Is he right?

To get a response, we put Klassen’s comment to Georgios Epitideios, a former lieutenant-general in the Greek army and currently an MEP for the ultra-right Golden Dawn party in Greece (a party regularly described as “neo-Nazi”, but which is currently Greece’s third-largest, claiming the support of 10% of Greeks in the polls). Did he think the rise of populist parties was a sign democracy is working?

EpitideiosYes, definitely. Unless they are being persecuted, or are facing undemocratic behaviour.

Golden Dawn’s leadership is currently being prosecuted for a range of crimes, including murder, attempted murder, and serious assaults. Supporters argue that the trial amounts to political repression, though legal scholars believe it is a legitimate criminal case.

For another perspective, we also spoke to Kristof Jacobs, Assistant Professor at the Department of Political Science at Radboud University in the Netherlands. His research focuses on contemporary challenges to democracy, their consequences and the responses to them. How would he respond to Klassen’s comment?

kristof_jacobsThe rise of anti-establishment parties is a sign that it’s possible to challenge elites. It depends a bit on the given electoral system in a country; for example, we have seen that the UKIP party – which is clearly an anti-establishment party – only got one seat in the last parliamentary elections even though it got lots of votes. So, in the UK and other majoritarian electoral systems, it’s very difficult to challenge mainstream parties.

But in lot of European countries, such as the Netherlands, populists have been able to enter the fray and give a voice to traditionally excluded people. And, in that sense, they often behave a bit like the drunken guest at a party – they don’t pay attention to the etiquette or the normal way of doing politics, and they talk about issues that a lot of mainstream parties don’t feel comfortable talking about.

So, from the electoral point of view, it’s good. But, on the other hand, it might be problematic for civil rights and liberties, and the liberal pillar of democracy, instead of the electoral pillar of democracy, is where populist parties tend to be problematic.

Is the rise of populist parties a sign that democracy is working? Is it good for unrepresented electorates, but bad for civil rights and liberties? Let us know your thoughts and comments in the form below, and we’ll take them to policymakers and experts for their reactions!

IMAGE CREDITS: CC / Flickr – Ernest Morales

180 comments Post a commentcomment

What do YOU think?

  1. avatar
    Ivan Burrows


    Given that people are voting for them in ever increasing numbers the answer is clearly yes, no matter how much the pro EU parties try to demonise them with lies & half-truths.

    Vote Leave.

  2. avatar
    Tony Muñiz

    If things were being done properly, the extreme left and extreme right would have no place in our politics. Unfortunately, everything comming from the EU couldn’t be done any worse. The thing that worries me is that it is not due to incompetence, but done following a well thought out plan for the EU. Cultural Marxism, elimination of European culture, impoverishment of Europeans etc etc.

    • avatar
      bert van santen

      Please realise Yourself, there is NO plan. otherwise it would be started back in 2002!
      The politicians changed the working EC in a monster EU, with the goal to create the United States of Europe, to copy the US!
      The first failure was to introduce the € , Europe has to much economies on different speeds to have a working single market.
      The second failure was the 2005 referendum.
      Each country should have done that. But after the French and Dutch said NO, the politicians said YES, changed a bit and moved on.
      Other countries didn`t get their PROMISED referendum, simply because the polticians chickened out.
      The Greek referendum was clear, NO more EU, yes said the politicians, calling the trioka different, waving away the result, and moved on.
      Failure three: the Brexit.
      Instead of listening to the people again the politicians move on.
      Perhaps untill they stand alone.

      What #EU plan, there ain`t a plan.
      Only drifting away further and further from the population and voters.

  3. avatar
    Pedro Castro

    You do realize that’s exactly the type of thought that brought us a millenia of war that culminated in 2 world wars with many millions dead?

    Work with people instead of working against them. It’s a far better life.

  4. avatar
    Rácz Tivadar

    Populism is closer to people, therefore dangerous for the ruling incapacity. Democracy in its early meaning has already been abused by unwanted, unworthy people.

    • avatar

      It’s the sign of the useless, cheating, undisciplined plebs ganging up on those who earn their place.

  5. avatar
    Björn Eric Ingemar Grahn

    It’s only a sign that people are afraid of new things. And it will be hi fore some while. At least until the globalisation have been fully integrated and the free movement have been a fact around the world for a decade or to. But unfortunately due to rouls changed under WW 1 will it continues to be hi for mutch longer than sesesairy case so many political decision is counterproductive. We need world free movement now. And to both save money and lives we need to cancel all refugee camps and move them to democratic countries.

  6. avatar
    Francio Marco

    Clearly not, with crisis people believe that the enemy is the immigrant and the only way to stop this stupid way of thinking is to say clearly that rich people are enrich themself with this crisis and then redistribute the money. This is the only way for democracy to survive otherwise this far-right parties will unfortunately increase.

  7. avatar
    Karel Van Isacker

    Clearly yes, with crisis people highlighting those aspects of society that remain unaddressed by the political elite. Should we be happy with the outcomes of these populist votes? Sometimes yes, sometimes not. But this only emphasises the need for politicians that listen to their country members, instead of running POCO campaigns in which people cannot recognise their daily needs, but instead are confronted with ivory tower mentalities displayed by so many politicians.

  8. avatar
    Tivadar Dietrich

    Yes! The presumably elected politicians are living on a different planet to that one, people are living on.

  9. avatar
    Ti Lameiras

    Yes, Democracy is working, as it is allowing far-right parties to come forward and threaten that same Democracy enabling them to stand out, so as to put an end to it as soon as possible, which is interesting, when it comes to countries that were victims of Nazi tyranny themselves. Ironic, like rain on your wedding day

  10. avatar
    catherine benning

    Before asking some of these question put up on here, what must be made clear is what is meant by it. For example, what does populist mean? This is a new ploy to divert from the truth, is it not?

    Populist meaning:

    Any democracy that chooses to vote with an overwhelming majority would have to be, by definition, a populist party. It would be able to offer the voter what they are looking for and would therefore be ‘popular.’ To have any party that is unpopular could not be democracy as that would be an indication they could not maintain a majority vote.

    So, if Marine Le Pen, is becoming more popular with the French public then as any other party would be in the same position, her policies are popular with the people and as a result would be elected by a popular vote. So, a populist party would be the one that the public decided was in their best interests. If these populist policies fail, and the people become discontent as their leader did not produce what he/she promised, then they would become ‘unpopular’ and voted out. This is Democracy at work.

    So, the answer to this question has to be, yes, democracy is working when a ‘populist’ party is elected. In a democracy no ‘unpopular’ party could be in power as there would not be enough votes for it to do so. As in the EU.

    Had the population of Europe been able to vote, with a majority, for the people leading the show today we would not have be forced into accepting stand ins who are taking us in a direction we don’t want. Whilst at the same time telling us ‘the majority’ do want them and are happy with them, when it is clear they are not doing what they were running on as populists at all.

    Believe me, the way the campaigning in my country, the UK, is going today, you would know we are being dragged like a bull with a ring in his nose, by a one party system. As the same game is being played by both sides in the way the Clinton/Trump show is presently.

    The general public are being mislead to such an extent the whole charade should be exposed as illegal and those running for office should be in court on a charge of fraud. For the truth they are hiding from those they want to persuade to support them means, whoever gets in cannot and has no intention of, giving the nation any satisfaction.

    What they are hiding is, the vote is rigged. The exact game they played with Scotland when they were asked if they wanted to remain with a Westminster government, is being run through again. First the polls tell us, the Out campaign is winning, then next they are close, then even closer, then suddenly out of nowhere you are told in the media and papers, the ‘In’ campaign is narrowly beating the out.

    Yet, when you do massive research of your own eyes and ears you see quite clearly this is an utter lie. All the comments pages for weeks shows without question the ‘Out’ is winning by a huge majority. The main newspapers running a poll tells you on the day by their own readers, Out is 92% or 72%,. Everyone you meet, without a doubt, tells you they are voting out and give a good account of their reasons for doing so. Then there is the odd one or two, over a three month period who will say, I don’t know, I am confused and afraid because none of the politicians are making any sense.

    Yet, on polling day, low and behold, you get a result that you know for sure is a set up. And then people rush to look, en masse, for a different or alternative party they think they can trust. As they did in Scotland, because they knew they had been done.

    So, what happens then, is, a massive majority for another party. In the Scottish case, the SNP. Run by a brew of people totally unsuitable for the needs of their nation because they too are not being honest with the public. Once in office, little by little, they move from the offer made on their policy platform to merging those already in Parliament. They drop the issue of ridding Scotland of Trident, too many of the public who voted for it will lose their jobs, they say. Then there is the other social concerns and, one by one, they do not vote them down when the ruling party puts them forward for legislation. They don’t stand by their manifesto. They vote in more austerity and poverty for those who wanted, so badly, to believe that one party was on their side.

    However, when the people decide they have had enough and want to try someone who is clearly, anti establishment, and therefore everything the voter wants, as in the case of Trump, the money boys send in the hit squads. They are paid to cause trouble at rallies and in the media or on Twitter, etc., even choose a British man, from conservative Surrey, to reach for a policeman’s gun, in order to so called shoot Trump. The laugh being, the guy is only living in the US 18 months, supposedly an overstayed visitor, living in his car, without work and from a country that has no gun culture. How very odd that is. Very, very odd indeed. A pauper who manages to buy a car, eat every day, buy clothing, buy petrol and all the things needed to survive Even manages to get into a rally that is strongly secure and thoroughly checked before you can gain entry. Anyone in their right mind would now this was a political set up. And this guy will be some way hidden and released, or, die with no trace, once the Trump machine has disappeared.

    Just the way slaughtered Jo Cox is being used today in my country, so that we will vote to remain with Europe, as this sainted woman gave her life for it.

    It is obscene. And after its all over, the surprise will out that Mrs Cox, was all along, directly out of university, in with the establishment. Even as far as working in and being educated in the USA, before taking up a position in a ‘safe seat’ as an MP, who for years facilitated and made possible, more and more establishment unpopular policies.

    This control of unwanted movement is eventually going to produce a terrible backlash. The signs of which we are already seeing.

  11. avatar

    he rise populist parties is as result of the the economic choking effect and the failure of the French Style State Dominated closed and protectionist economic systems all along the Mediterranean basin from Portugal to Cyprus.

    • avatar
      catherine benning

      @ Jan Koller

      Stop her from what? Can you elucidate? And also tell us what you would like her to do, in detail. Apart from shutting up that is.

  12. avatar
    Stefano Piccini

    ALL FINANCED FROM PUTIN AGAINST EU……..the Europeans rights wings are financed from putin for to do his goal: destroy EU,destroy NATO ( Trump) and keep the Europens Countries far from USA………….so when the Europeans Countries shall be alone,without NATO and USA protection…………for putin shall be easier invade us one by one……………and theEuropeans rights wings for money they sold their Countries freedom to the the Communist and Stalinist putin…………is an EU fault,they know this situation and not stop the rights wings parties with sanctions

    • avatar
      Dario Fè

      Those are strong allegations. Do you have any evidence for that?

    • avatar
      Paul X

      The pixie living under the toadstool at the bottom of his garden told him, what more evidence do you need?

  13. avatar
    Julia Hadjikyriacou

    If people didn’t have to fight governments for basic rights, security, health, wealth and happiness there would be no opposition. The rise of populist parties and their followers is a sign that people are not a priority and that government is not only failing them but also harming them.

  14. avatar
    Dirk Schönhoff

    It’s a sign for a crises concerning reliabilty and sustainible future concepts given by our democratic structures. Tackle the problem now, house is burning already.

  15. avatar
    Bianka Pavšič

    No…it is jusr sighn that people doesent want to cooperate with existing parties, join them and make changes…but just wondering arround with endless ideas without action.

  16. avatar
    Dario Fè

    The rise of populist parties is not the CAUSE of a democratic deficit, it is a CONSEQUENCE of that.

    If decisions are taken after a democratic discussion, which also involves ordinary citizens, the rise of populist movement is less likely.

    If decisions are taken behind closed doors,if politicians ask for your opinion only on elections day, if you write to your MPs and they don’t answer, etc., then (especially during a harsh economical crisis), you are likely to vote for whoever wants to destroy a system which clearly does not work.

    In my opinion, a good solution against populism would be to implement more direct democracy in the current political system… but that would decrease the power of politicians, lobbyists, and bureaucrats.
    So I am afraid we need to live with those right wing extremist for very long time.

  17. avatar
    Christos D. Papageorgiou

    Πατριωτισμός Δεξιού τύπου, το τελευταίο σκαλοπάτι πριν τον φασισμό και τα παρεπόμενα που είδαμε στο μεσοπόλεμο. Τα χαμόγελα μπορεί να καταλήξουν σε πικρά δάκρυα αλλά εις μάτην “δεύτερη ζωή δεν έχει” που είπε και ο Ελύτης !!!

  18. avatar
    Aron J. Miszlivetz

    It is a sign that democracy cannot challenges within the nation-state. It needs to be redefined on a whole new level.

    • avatar
      Tarquin Farquhar

      @Aron J. Miszlivetz
      How should democracy be redefined then?

  19. avatar
    Zsolt Fuzessery

    In a certain way every party is populist…or they should be. Left or right (centrist or liberal etc.) means nothing today.

  20. avatar
    Giovanni Trentin

    Well, if one lived in countries whose frail democracies have been driven out of path in the past by elected populist parties, he should say no, of course. They are probably unavoidable in a free world, that doesn’t mean it’s good. This is not funny. It’s no joke when strong forces who make a point of disrupting the democratic pillars – and they do – are unleashed by democratic means. Because, once in a while, it happens. It might be good only in the sense that democracies provide relief valves to prevent this kind of forces from building up from dangerous to devastating.

  21. avatar

    There is not such a political doctrine as “populist”. That’s an invented name by the political biased mainstream media to balme any “rebel” movement that might put at risk the establishment status quo, and because the “rebels” are from oposing political spectrum (Tsipras and Farage or Pablo Iglesias and Norbert Hoffer)

    • avatar
      Tarquin Farquhar

      Well said!

      The term ‘populist’ is now used as a derogatory term – this is an attempt by the people in power to patronise, marginalise and despise the ‘people’.

  22. avatar
    Michael Diamant

    Why is it wrong to be populist? And the right will continiue to grow since the left and moderate right havnt even understood why they are growing (real very realistic fears). And by calling people uneducated will not bring them back.

  23. avatar
    Tarquin Farquhar

    @Kristof Jacobs
    Some ‘populists’ espouse ideas that are anti-misogynistic and anti-homophobic – are such sentiments a threat to democracy?

  24. avatar
    Nikos Vlachos

    The term “populism” is being thrown around and is being manipulatively used by politicians as if it were chewing-gum meant to be chewed by sheep. “Populism” is neither right or wrong — it can express sentiments reflecting real material conditions (cf. Laclau, etc). Now, for those who dislike the masses of people who vote for the “popular Right”, let them “vote another people”, so to speak.

  25. avatar
    EU reform- proactive

    In the first instance it is the rise of mainstream media who manipulates, influences & confuses us with all kind of expressions. Next are the psychopathic political leaders who control a complacent & political lazy public to soften them up & make them eventually capitulate to their political “pathocracy”. See link here:

    And as a result, that’s why the most powerful Bilderberg group won’t allow a BREXIT:

    Probably, the “populists” are the only real opposition in a pro Bilderberg- one party EU parliament (EPP & SD)- who can’t be intimidated by the Bilderberg group & other sociopaths!

    One can only prepare & assist in the next struggle- if ever possible-, to hold them accountable of their promise of a substantial reform initiative from within.

  26. avatar
    Marco Peel

    No, the rise of populism is a signal democracy is failing. When parties need to prey on people’s fears, misfortunes or differences to oust or maintain established or entrenched interests, it means society is deeply fractured and on the brink of conflict. True democracy needs neither “establishment” nor “populism”. In fact it shuns them. Extremes do not thrive where there is true freedom, equality and justice.

  27. avatar
    Petros Lyrantonakis

    oh my god so terrible, a democratic country must be a politicalcorrectistan – leftistan – multiculturalismistan with language and opinion policing

  28. avatar
    Rock The Revolutionary

    ….In a Democracy the governments are those which are subordinate to the people and not the people to the governments. The ” foundation ” of any democratic society is Justice … witch alone can be the cause of both the best and the worst that can happen to a society of people .

  29. avatar
    Philip Spentzuris

    Definitely not, there would be no discontent if the system was serving the people as it was intended to do!!!

  30. avatar
    Bruno Montaina

    Io tifo “Brexit”, ovviamente…lo vedo come un trojan, l’Europa stà distruggendo l’Europa, e a me non piace…così il primo che esce “libera tutti” !!!!

  31. avatar
    Martin Drienka

    No, it’s a sign that stupid people are easiest to manipulate. Normally they don’t care about politics because they don’t have mental capacity for it, but bring some entertaining topics and they’re on their feet following you like a cattle!

  32. avatar
    Alessandro Renesis

    7 people in 10 say that water isn’t wet. You must listen to them, whether you like it or not. This is the definition of democracy. It’s stupid but the alternatives are far worse. Populism is on the rise because people feel deprived, mostly by their own government and Europe, of basic rights. I’m not one, but stop treating populists like idiots and ask yourself why we’ve come down to this

  33. avatar
    Faddi Zsolt

    There’s no real democracy at all. In a real democracy there aren’t poor an rich people, politics is more sophisticated and exists no “elite”.

  34. avatar
    Eugenia Serban

    Extremists /far right or left are never democratic and do not represent people’s interests.
    They just show that a CRISIS is in progress and alarm should be raised. For traditional parties and politicians who forget who tney work for.

  35. avatar
    Stefania Portici

    dimenticate un altro manovratore della UE che è la Trilaterale . La Trilaterale non è per niente spaventata dalla Le Pen che nel suo programma ha il pareggio di bilancio previsto per il 2018 , per cui…..di cosa stiamo parlando ???.

    • avatar

      What about thieves and forgers pretending with a sheepish look on their faces “I don’t know about anything. What money?! “

  36. avatar

    We need to introduce in the schools political sciences just like mathematics. People have to understand how an organisation works. I hear a lot about EU officials not being elected, like it’s not in every single country that hundreds of thousands/millions of civil servants are not elected but appointed by the few who are elected.

  37. avatar

    Its just indicates that there is a lack of balance and this doesn’t just apply to the EU it applies to the world, all systems all empires and all religions come to an end. The religious among us might call it the start of armageddon. But really we are just seeing a new renaissance.
    It’s not just democracy that needs to be debated religions have also been splintered beyond purpose, capatilism and the American dream are dying with them.
    The Sciences and religions have to be unified, humans must have a purpose that is beyond greed because really if that’s all life is about…..then why bother at all.
    Europe needs to have this debate, it needs to find balance, humans need to have this debate they to need to find balance.
    If you think it’s just a political problem then I am afraid your not thinking big enough.
    If you think humans can come up with the answers without first having a purpose then I am afraid you are mistaken.
    Turbulent but exciting times ahead, the question is do we have the debate with our minds or do what we have a habit of doing and choose violence or to put it another way do we choose to debate this like adults or like petulant children!

  38. avatar

    Why do mainstream media enoble nationalists as ‘sceptics’ and ‘populists’?

    That is so wrong. They do not speak for us! We should label them as what they are and fight their nonsense talk, not watch them as the rabbit caught in the headlights and let us dictate their perverse views.

    That clearly is the biggest threat for the Western World!

    • avatar

      Sanders is right in most parts of his speech, I’d say, esp. on the Republicans agenda and that ‘war of the wealthy against the middle class in the US’, but he seems not to have too much economical education when he is complaining about Chinese products, and on American labour market. Chinese workers have the same right to earn money as any Westerner. The lifting of hundred millions of Chinese from absolute poverty and creating a growing middle class there only worked by industrialising the country and open it for world trade. I am biased about several outcomes of globalization (esp. the tendancy of production where social and environmental standards are low) but it also brings a lot of benefits for people – not only for the bosses. Give those economies the time to develop. People will fight for their rights there, too. Chinese or Indians are not more stupid than we are. Those economies are just at another stage – maybe somehow comparable to strictly capitalist 19th century Europe.

      Greedy capitalism is a threat to our societies (much more than any islamism or Russia or whatever external enemy we are told to fear). But nationalism and isolationalism is an even bigger danger in my view as it has the potential to turn out very dark sides in us which are better burried and tabooed. Scream out in your cellar that you hate people because of their melanin skin, east-european accent or whatever reason if you must, but please realize what psychological and eventually even physical damage segregational behaviour may produce upon eye-contact real life. Actually, that starts already by creating a climate of apartheid with certain group attributions without considering the individuum.

  39. avatar
    J M Perz Gnlz

    It is a sign that imposes a strong leadership to people and shows that banking system needs to reinvent itself to stop people movements and protect its financial interests.

  40. avatar
    Rob Moss

    It’s a sign that democracy is at least alive and kicking. It seems tho that establishment doesn’t really like the democratic process

  41. avatar
    Tomas Mzr

    I like this propaganda – populist vs european. Voice of people in nations is populist and voice of non elected Commision and elites is european :D

  42. avatar
    Ivan Burrows


    Of course it is, EU fanatics may hate the idea but at the end of the day people will decide their future, not EU bureaucrats.

  43. avatar
    Ivan Burrows


    Of course it is, EU fanatics may hate the idea but at the end of the day people will decide their future, not EU bureaucrats.

  44. avatar
    Iván Marsh Whateley

    absolutly not. Lepen is the example: Fascists are not democrats. Democracy happens when the poeple is democratic, not fascists. it s a signthat it will die because democracy is freedom.

  45. avatar
    Iván Marsh Whateley

    absolutly not. Lepen is the example: Fascists are not democrats. Democracy happens when the poeple is democratic, not fascists. it s a signthat it will die because democracy is freedom.

  46. avatar
    Tom cotter

    Populism is democracy off the people by the people for the people majority rules

  47. avatar

    Far right politics worries me. It means politics are so out of touch with Europeans, extreme ideas appear logical solutions to simple problems (that are actually not problems at all)

    Wealthy people are happy people. Germanies austerity is not how Europeans have lived for the last 60 years but it is forced on a continent like it is the solution.

    Europe has to generate wealth, hope and a better future to avoid horrible social problems like the UKs fascist xenophobic reaction to EU migrants.

    The Nazi party was founded in economic uncertainty. Europe needs to get rid of old powers like the monarchy and allow real democracy and freedom in individual countries to prosper, with minimum standards, not set rules.

    If we all have the same rules, when a financial shock hits, we will all be in trouble. And who will bail out Europe if our partners in the US are suffering too?

    It could all end in war

  48. avatar
    Joaquim M Pinto

    A German control Europe was hitlers dream. And it become true this time they didn’t need to fire a single shot. And everybody thinks is democracy because they can’t see the end of the cadge. This distance between the centers of decision and the citizens make all of this possible. And the arrogance of the none elected leaders are making all this revolution possible. One thing is true this Europe where some are starving so others can be richer and richer this Europe of the banks and big corporations is not working. And there are lines that are not defensible and the people will come for them.

  49. avatar
    Rosy Forlenza

    no, they are a sign of the opposite. populist parties thrive on anxiety, hopelessness and poverty. They take those, blame everyone else, make false promises that they shamelessly renege on (aka Farage), and people seem to so caught, any modicom of a remaining capacity to handle complexity is out of the window. If populist parties are on the rise then national and at eu level, need to stop dismissing them and dismissing people who believe in live tv debates. It is a warning sign that something is drastically broken. The Uk failed to do that since Thatcher, what we see unfolding beggars belief, and yet those more likely to be hurt the most by this, still believe the shite these parties peddle.

  50. avatar

    Democracy is about ‘informed consent’, populist parties are voted based on misinformation. So clearly, no.

    • avatar

      When elected Governments refuse to listen to the concerns of the people who elected them, then obviously they will turn to others that seem to share the same concerns, call them populist if you like but these also have a place in a democracy, they serve as a wake up call to those that refused to listen.

  51. avatar

    Anti-EU sentiment of ‘populists’ picks up fears of losing social reputation, or, more profane, wealth. Demographics of recent British and Dutch referenda highlight that very prominently. The huge miscalculation many conduct is that ‘wake-up calls’ will face their fear. ‘Populists’ demands for national solutions will impoverish millions – and let me be clear: the elites will not be among them.

    Lacking momentum for a more social Europe is the elephant in the room!

    13/02/2017 Professor Sarah de Lange, from the University of Amsterdam’s Department of Political Science, has responded to this comment.

  52. avatar

    populism is anger by people who feel insecure about their future and is messing up everyone.they strictly deal with sensitive issues that some government do not attend and that serve as awake up call for the government in power to pul up its socks or it will be voted out

  53. avatar
    Bobi Dochev

    No! It is sign that the Commission and all the EU Institution doesn’t!!! And this is the problem!

  54. avatar
    Calin Hetes

    No. It’s a sign that the construction of a european democracy and solidarity was brought down by some of the policies meant to come whit the financial crisis, in Greece for example, and the migrant crisis. Europeans turned against eachothers, North against South, West against East (Brexit). Now far right is too strong in Europe and it’s very dangereous.

  55. avatar
    Ivan Burrows


    Of course it is, the whole point of democracy is having the ability to chose your government & force them to abide by the will of the people but most importantly of all giving the people the ability to remove incompetent & crooked politicians. the opposite of which is the European Union.

    Vive la liberté !

  56. avatar
    Zisis Poimenidis

    The rise of ” populist ” parties is a sign that democracy does not work the way it should. Don’t forget that populism’ s target goup is the unsatisfied citizens. Rise of populist parties, simply means rise of the numbers of the unsutisfied citizens. If nothing else, the rise of ” populist ” parties, demonstrate the fact that the reflexes of the society are still working. Never the less the rise of populism should ring a bell to the decision makers of Europe.

  57. avatar
    Gabriella Anderson

    It shows that the popolo (the people) see thru the eu elite and their supporting globalist/leftist lobbies. The people started to see the demage of extreme liberalism and started to turn back to those who would represent their interest. Btw, why the name “populist” is so negative ? I think that should be the norm to represent the people, not only a small priviliged group.

  58. avatar
    Luchian Mdm


  59. avatar
    Adriana Miron

    No,it’s a sign that people don’t believe in the efficiency of the democracy ,thus ,they are unsatisfied and begin to want more a political regim similar to totalitarism .

  60. avatar
    Ivan Burrows


    Maybe an understanding would help you.

    Definition of ‘Populism’:

    Populism is a belief in the power of regular people, and in their right to have control over their government rather than a small group of political insiders or a wealthy elite. The word populism comes from the Latin word for “people,” populus.

    Therefore if you are against ‘populism’ you are a supporter of ‘Elitism’..

    Vive la liberté !

  61. avatar
    Jean-Pierre Rosa

    Populism comes and goes. When things are dire, populists know how to exploit fear, nationalism and racism to their advantage. So it goes, so it turns, so is history as usual.

  62. avatar
    Joao Carlos Alves Henriques Branco

    FN is good party, but true europeans unite wit golden dawn even better. awake europeans time have come. the scum will be deported alive in good health, the traitors of europe are the ones shuld be worry and they are in fear right now. awake europeans

  63. avatar
    José Carlos Ramalho

    “Spring Patriotic”. NOT FAR RIGHT (as you call it secular Freemasonry). “Spring Patriotic”. It RELEASE OF GLOBALIZATION OF DICTATORSHIP OF PEOPLE (is the hope of humanity for the respect of the human being in its lived traditions in their roots in FREEDOM and no war invented by powerful materialism)

  64. avatar
    Jorge Lux

    Populist means for the people, right? Cause what we have now is bankulist parties, for the banks an corruptolist, for the corrupts.

    Make a choice!

  65. avatar
    Stefania Portici

    in tutti i paesi della UE esiste un unico partito noi lo chiamiamo PUDE che significa il partito unico dell’euro ma è esteso anche ai trattati . Il popolo francese credo abbiano lo stesso PUDE che abbiamo tutti che sia di destra di sinistra centro….è sempre lo stesso . La democrazia è un’altra cosa e non è neanche il populismo è permettere al popolo di esprimersi ,di essere rappresentato anche dal non PUDE, permettere alla politica di esserci, il PUDE è dittatura non si è scelto ,è stato imposto con l’inganno al popolo e con la forza alle classi dirigenti Mi dispiace per i francesi ma credo che anche la le Pen è PUDE altrimenti non si spiega il pareggio di bilancio nel suo programma elettorale. Chi non è PUDE la UE coi suoi mezzi gli taglia le zampe abbiamo imparato a conoscerla come agisce e ci siamo stufati

    in all EU countries, there is a single party we call PUDE which means the only party of the euro but is also extended to the treaties. The French people believe they have the PUDE same as we all know is the center-left right …. it is always the same. Democracy is another thing and it is not populism is to allow the people to express themselves, to be jointly represented by non PUDE, allow the policy to be there, the PUDE’s dictatorship is not chosen and was imposed by deceit the people and the power to the ruling classes i’m sorry for the French, but i think that even the Pen is PUDE otherwise not explained a balanced budget in his election program. Who it is not PUDE the EU with its means cuts off the legs have got to know how to act, and we got tired

  66. avatar
    Georgia Sigala

    Emmmm, why far-right movements only? How about far left, or even leftists eg. Podemos? One-sided article…..

  67. avatar
    Jonathan Thomson

    Yes. For all those that say “no”, I suggest you look up the definition of democracy and populism. If you still disagree…then you’re probably one of the elite.

  68. avatar
    Vicente Silva Tavares

    Speaking as a social-democrat: Our parties no longer represent the working classes. When our parties support the globalism which put our workers on unemployment, when our parties support low customs duties to allow cheap imports that do not need to respect the rules demanded to European companies, keeping our workers unnecessary and at the same time keeping our trade balance negative, when our parties, as Chantal Mouffe ( a French left philosopher) pointed out are based on the middle class and immigrants of course we are pushing our workers to the populist parties. Social-Democratic parties are killing themselves slowly.

  69. avatar
    Yannick Cornet

    Democracy cannot work alone. It’s not a panacea. That people can vote for people that will essentially act counter to their interest is both beautiful and stupid. But it’s fair enough if people feel the need for change from structures that increasingly make them lose out in a global neoliberal system. That racism and protectionism is not the answer must be made clear, but it might very well create destructive conditions from which to start again. It’s sad to not have constructive alternatives to propose.

  70. avatar
    Andre Lopes

    Probably we a questioning what “Democracy” is doing wrong. Because as things are happening, “we get the sense that this is not Democracy, it’s fake, none of what they say is true” as I heard many time from this people complaint, and I feel we are stepping into the mud. Remember this fascists parties always rise when there’s crisis, and as we see a corrupted Democracy in fact…
    The rise of the Populism can bring pretty serious and dangerous consequences I guess.

    And it’s like everyone knows how to exit this but we always find an excuse to leave things as they are, by consequence things can get out of control, Europe had this lesson in the past.

  71. avatar

    Populism is true democracy it has always worked well in Switzerland representative democracy is no democracy at all the majority tell the member of parliament what they require and if he doesn’t agree goes and votes as he feels that’s not democracy never has been

  72. avatar
    Georgia Sigala

    Democracy is working, but the European Politicians and Bureaucrats are not applying it. The crisis that the political sector is undergoing is not the political ideology’s failure. In other words, the principle is sound, but those elected to deliver it are not up to the task.

  73. avatar
    Flavio Sousa

    It’s a sign that Europe is going to hell and eurocrats only care about bankers.

  74. avatar
    Charles Buhagiar

    I don’t think it is working as it shold be otherwise the people wouldn’t be voting to extremists

  75. avatar
    Jorge Lux

    It’s more the sign of European incompetence. Populists means the people, so yeah, we are taking back our country’s because the corrupt bureaucrats of Brussels sold they to the richest ones, to the banks!

  76. avatar
    Pan Sol

    the real problem of EU is economy, the EU financial controllers must be elected from people not appointed by big bosses and banks

  77. avatar
    Vicente Silva Tavares

    Like it or not, yes, is democracy working. Mainstream parties should ask themselves why so many people are turning to the populist parties, left or right. Labour party lost 20% of their electorate and 15% went directly to UKIP, the British Left should ask why? When French workers traditionally voting on PCF and Socialist party and go directly to FN, these parties should ask themselves, why? And in Southern Europe, PASOK and PSI should ask what they have done wrong to now only have 4 and 2.5%. When the Spanish PSOE once a party with absolute majority and now reduced to 20%, should ask themselves why Podemos and the Catalonia independentists are now replacing them? And Swedish, Finish, Austrian, Dutch social-democrats.

  78. avatar
    Blaz Bostjancic

    Major parties many times do what people want. But sometimes I get the feeling that people just want to hear what they feel. Hate for immigrants, hate for glbt people, national pride, French cannot stand it that Romanians have the same rights as them. It is the matter of the fact that peiple are too prinitive to accept modern life. Political corertness does not work in peiple minds and hearts. Populism sounds far better that a realistic polocy that defends painfull reforms and human equalty.

  79. avatar
    Andrew Potts

    The established left political, media, courts, education have pursued an ideology that is and appears to be about everything but the modest aspirations of family, home, jobs, security and community that most voters really want. These are not extreme ideas.

  80. avatar
    Yanis Sarto

    More of a sign of how easily manipulated european voters still are , in spite of wealth and education they enjoy now in comparison with past eras

    • avatar
      Ivan Burrows


      So you think people are stupid for not voting the way you think they should ?,yours is the typical arrogance from the main stream that is being rejected.

      It’s more likely people have intelligently looked at the situation and are rejecting the one party state being created by Brussels.

    • avatar
      Yanis Sarto

      You see it as a one party state , i see it as the continent trying to walk forward as one . Different perspectives and i don´t remember calling you names btw

  81. avatar
    Wendy Harris

    Multiculturalism is a failed experiment. People cannot exist in harmony with each other if they live in separate culture bubbles, with different languages, allegiances, customs and practices. Diversity is division. It does not enrich, it estranges. Patriotism is a unifying force that encourages integration rather than separatism. It is an error to confuse this with nationalism and racism. With the exception of Muslims whose religion has been exposed as dangerous and barbaric, people are generally accepting of immigrants who are willing to integrate and conform to their established way of life. Multiculturalism has destroyed that process of integration that leads to patriotism towards the country you live in rather than the country you were in born in. It’s like being adopted but refusing to accept that your new parents are now your mother and father. What we are seeing is not a movement towards racial purity but a backlash against multiculturalism.

  82. avatar
    Acsai György

    “democracy (n.)
    1570s, from Middle French démocratie (14c.), from Medieval Latin democratia (13c.), from Greek demokratia “popular government,” from demos “common people,” originally “district” (see demotic), + kratos “rule, strength”.

    In addition to the already existing populist parties, there are newcomers to the democratic “market.”

  83. avatar
    Acsai György

    “democracy (n.)
    1570s, from Middle French démocratie (14c.), from Medieval Latin democratia (13c.), from Greek demokratia “popular government,” from demos “common people,” originally “district” (see demotic), + kratos “rule, strength”.

    In addition to the already existing populist parties, there are newcomers to the democratic “market.”

  84. avatar
    Karel Van Isacker

    Far right is nowhere in power or planning to be in power as there is no such far right. There is far left media though…

  85. avatar
    Viorika Motoi

    Is true, the politics he dident listen the voice of people who they voted and globalizacion don t they see is not a verry good idea ,is not work.

  86. avatar
    George Titkov

    As long as they operate within their constitution, what’s the problem with ‘populist’ parties if that is the will of the people? And why call them ‘populist’? Because they listen to the people? Because they promise what people want to hear? Does that mean the other parties do the opposite of what people want? That’s why ‘populist’ parties are on the rise.

  87. avatar
    Bobi Dochev

    It is really hilarious, and what is the differences between the “traditional parties and the “populist” one?! Before the election both promises things that after that do not implement! EU Liberals and Social-democrats are same bloody liars and the same extremist as the “populist” – they are just on the other side!

  88. avatar
    Luís Estanqueiro

    Yes. I totally agree. Moreover, I’ve held this oppinion from the start as it means people are voicing their oppinion without suppression. Even if what they vote for is less than ideal.

  89. avatar
    Miguel Cabrita

    It is democracy working: when the mainstream political currents and actors bend themselves to other masters other than the people who elected them, the same people will turn it’s vote to anyone who tells them new lies.

  90. avatar
    Tobias Stricker

    No, it is a sign of his breakdown and the rise of “alternative” universes. If democracy would work people would argue about what conclusion have to be taken from the facts, but they wouldn’t invent their own facts. There always exist stupid people, but now they are not just stupid anymore, they are totally delusional.

  91. avatar
    Yanis Sarto

    You see it as a one party state , i see it as the continent trying to walk forward as one . Different perspectives and i don´t remember calling you names btw

  92. avatar
    GonEprata Megarp

    Lool no, its a sign it is so rotten that not even that can save it XD how do you think the a dictactorship like the debt union can ever have anything to do with dumbocracy? the european commision is a sad circus were the blood of innocents floats around the stage while they spend an eternity and millions talking about nothing…saying how good they are and how successfull the euro is…a lot of people still dream with them.

  93. avatar
    GonEprata Megarp

    Lool no, its a sign it is so rotten that not even that can save it XD how do you think a dictactorship like the debt union can ever have anything to do with dumbocracy? the european commision is a sad circus were the blood of innocents floats around the stage while they spend an eternity and millions talking about nothing…saying how good they are and how successfull the euro is…a lot of people still dream with them…just look at this amazig question! Is democracy working? Working in what? If we are talking about striping the people of its voice and rights, begging for uprisings, chain people to laughable debt, and destroy every trace of what can be called democracy, then it is working pretty damn well, in fact just look at the disparity nowdays…it never worked so good.

  94. avatar
    William Mer de Gand

    Yes, as absurd as it may sound to some. Europe follows a top-down logic: the people is ignorant and therefore it must entrust the power to make decisions to its elite.
    But that does not work any more. More and more Europeans are educated and know that democracy cannot fully function without following a bottom-top logic, which notably involves placing great emphasis on educating citizens and developing closer bonds with them, along with the ability to directly impact the decision-making process. It’s a responsability that lord knows the establishment hates… what would the world be like without a subservient and ignorant cast?

  95. avatar
    Rui Correia

    Yes, of course… people are voting… nobody is taking over countries by force… people just want control, and their countries back… who can blame them??? – all types of extremism are bad and potencially end up creating bigger problems and conflicts, but in this case, I believe people just want to “shut the door, live well and stay quiet for a while, and to control in & out flows of people, goods, information and money/numbers”; nobody is idealistic anymore, not to the point of wanting to save the whole world overnight, anymore… heroes die young… so… let’s start from saving our own backyard first, and then we’ll think about all the problems in the rest of the world, slowly… one at a time, day by day… fast-paced decision making is crap… you either finish late, or end up badly, or both. People are just fearful and anxious about the future. Populism provides a supposed “quick-fix”. And people VOTE for something different than “the same old bullsh*t”… :-P :-) When it can’t get any worse… well… why not??? The future might be brighter via alternative paths… who knows?? :-)

  96. avatar
    Rui Correia

    Yes, of course… people are voting… nobody is taking over countries by force… people just want control, and their countries back… who can blame them??? – all types of extremism are bad and potencially end up creating bigger problems and conflicts, but in this case, I believe people just want to “shut the door, live well and stay quiet for a while, and to control in & out flows of people, goods, information and money/numbers”; nobody is idealistic anymore, not to the point of wanting to save the whole world overnight, anymore… heroes die young… so… let’s start from saving our own backyard first, and then we’ll think about all the problems in the rest of the world, slowly… one at a time, day by day… fast-paced decision making is crap… you either finish late, or end up badly, or both. People are just fearful and anxious about the future. Populism provides a supposed “quick-fix”. And people VOTE for something different than “the same old bullsh*t”… :-P :-) When it can’t get any worse… well… why not??? The future might be brighter via alternative paths… who knows?? :-)

  97. avatar
    Dolly Nedeva

    Huuh, it,s a sign actually that democracy has gone too far in failing to give solution to many essential problems of today society

  98. avatar
    Marco Peel

    Challenges to the establishment based on ideas and ideals are a sign that democracy is at work. Populism based on lies and fear, however, is a sign that it is failing. It is easy to divide and destroy, it is much harder to build and unite.

  99. avatar
    Andrius Adomaitis

    democracy is working, but it doesn’t serve society anymore. We should switch to resource based economy and let go of money. Basic income is welcomed intermediary solution.

  100. avatar
    Kelly Emilie Finger

    No. It is the exact opposite. Democracy is not using people’s fear for its benefits, it is so far from populism. We should rework on the philosophical ideas of democracy, something must be missing in some part.

  101. avatar
    stevie johnstone

    the people who are against populism and the hard right , should look at THEMSELVES and say to THEMSELVES , what are WE doing WRONG ,that’s making happen , I bet you most of the people turning to the populist and hard right , don’t really want to , but the current situation is RUINING our society !!

    • avatar

      Cannot agree more. My impression is that populist parties have been using a confrontational approach to tear apart nations and countries so as to win support of the people who have their problems and self-interests magnified. Populist parties have been putting party interests above that of the collective interest. A union and a country would never be able to progress with legs dragging by populism parties. Same as a human body, if the limbs do not want to listen to command of the brain, what would happen? Freedom is not all of democracy. In a democracy, individuals need to give up some self-interest and freedoms for the collective wellbeing.

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