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Populism: Is it a dangerous path or an intriguing opportunity?

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Political landscapes are changing. Both the political right and left are calling for the complete overhaul of the ‘corrupt’, ‘elitist’ and ‘out of touch’ political establishment. Polarising language is being used to pit ‘the true will of the people’ against political institutions. Election results both in and out of Europe are showing that these ideas resonate with many people, and so populists win elections, enter parliament and make the left-right political divide seem outdated.

 

Does it spell out disaster for our democratic societies or does it show the need for something to be put back on track?

What actions need to be taken to renew the democratic process?

What is the EU’s role and relevance in this challenge?

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Miguel Alonso
19 June 2020

First of all, what's populism? It's the idea that a political figure talks and proposes what the people need without a pragmatic or reasonable view. We can accuse many politicians of populism, but we tend to talk about far-right populism and far-left populism... However many mainstream parties also have populist behaviors. We cannot continue to criticize a party who for example opposes mass immigration of being populist and racist in such a simplistic way. We need to be critical. If these "populist" trends are growing in Europe it is because the people, specially from the rural and low-income areas, do not feel represented. They feel left by the liberal and globalist speeches. They are the ones who suffer from unemployment, migrant violence and the pro-environment regulations. Our representatives need to bring democracy to those areas, they need to listen to this people. Populism is not something bad as far as it shows us what we need to improve. We need to face the truth... if there's hate it's not because of racism or a lack of education, it's because of bureaucracy, corruption and blindness. on issues such as immigration (migrants tend to go to low-income areas, where they tend to increase violence), environment (farmers suffer from the hard ecological regulations) or corruption (money that goes nowhere close to those communities). I'm not saying that we should stop all these liberal policies... but we need to end with the stigmas around the "populist" voters as their speeches have an origin, a cause, and a consequence...

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