Europe's Troublemakers: the populist challenge to foreign policy

Rosa Balfour (rapporteur), Janis A. Emmanouilidis, Catherine Fieschi, Christopher Hill, Timo Lochocki, Marie Mendras, Cas Mudde, Mari K. Niemi, Juliane Schmidt, Corina Stratulat

EPC Paper

Brussels 03/2016



The growing intertwining of domestic and international politics is changing our understanding of both foreign relations and democratically legitimate government. At the same time, populist parties are thriving, challenging the status quo and the ruling elite, becoming the new ‘troublemakers’. As the transformative impact of populism on foreign relations has been little explored, this Report explores whether and how the populists are shaping the debate, and what the consequences might be for foreign policy-making in the EU. One thing seems certain: populism is here to stay, even if it ebbs and flows. Both left and right-wing populists are exploiting a crisis of democracy and legitimacy. Traditional politics thus needs to address the more deep-rooted malaise which is fueling discontent, rather than to stigmatise, mock or ignore its symptoms, or worse still, join the chorus of complainers.

The publication is co-authered by: Rosa Balfour, Senior Adviser, European Policy Centre (EPC), and Senior Fellow, The German Marshall Fund of the United States (rapporteur); Janis A. Emmanouilidis, Director of Studies, EPC; Catherine Fieschi, Director, Counterpoint; Heather Grabbe, Director of the Open Society European Policy Institute; Christopher Hill, Sir Patrick Sheehy Professor of International Relations, University of Cambridge; Timo Lochocki, Transatlantic Fellow, The German Marshall Fund of the United States; Marie Mendras, Professor, Sciences Po, Paris; Cas Mudde, Associate Professor, University of Georgia; Mari K. Niemi, Senior Researcher, University of Turku; Juliane Schmidt, Junior Policy Analyst, EPC; and Corina Stratulat, Senior Policy Analyst, EPC.

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