In the Name of the Nation!
The threats of populism in Europe

As we continue to consider what – besides the pandemic or geopolitical challenges old and new – is causing ever greater headaches for Europe, we have all observed that here and there, the springs of populism burst out within it. And the problem is not exclusive to the so-called new Europe, the countries that have joined the community of democratic countries fairly recently. We also see manifestations of populism, for instance, in France and Germany. Dare we say that Brexit as well happened to a great extent because of populist motives.

Where do these groups, sometimes larger, and sometimes entirely insignificant, find the inspiration to speak “in the name of the nation”? Why do such groups often declare themselves the guardians of traditional national or religious values? Why do we think that populism is a threat to individual states or the whole European community? Couldn’t we just generalize that a certain degree of populism is a constant trait of democracy? Almost every political force must kowtow to the electorate and engage in a greater or lesser compromise.

Where does populism come from? Could it be our attempt to find simple answers to serious life problems, which, if swept under the rug, sooner or later still befall us in the shape of various crises? In other words, is populism an expression of our fear of living?

This is what the 5 th Nida Forum is about to discuss. It is a place were, for a single weekend, we can put our minds to the issues that cause us migraines.