Populism and Nationalism- instruments for deception and privation of individual freedom

15 September 2015
10.00 - 14.00

Seminar jointly organized by the European Ideas Network and FAES Foundation

Seminar on Populism and Nationalism- instruments for
deception and privation of individual freedom


Paulo RANGEL MEP, Vice-Chairman of the EPP Group in the European Parliament, EIN Chairman
Javier ZARZALEJOS, Secretary General, FAES Foundation
Manuel ÁLVAREZ TARDÍO, Profesor Titular de Universidad Rey Juan Carlos, Facultad de Ciencias Jurídicas y Sociales
Josep MARIA CASTELLÁ, Departamento de Derecho Constitucional y Ciencia Política, Facultad de Derecho Universidad de Barcelona
Jordi CANAL, Centre de Recherches Historiques Membre statutaire
Andrea GIURICIN, Managing director at CRIET – Transport, at University Milan Bicocca
Angelos CHRYSSOGELOS, fellow in the European Institute of the London School of Economics

  •  In the context of the recent EU issues (post crisis EU recovery, the situation in Arab countries and refugees in Europe etc.) the populist and nationalist movements are growing through the entire continent as a real challenge for democracy. This is very important political problem, very difficult to tackle because those movements appeal not to the reality but to the fiction. They present the idea of a perfect society which does not exist. 
  •  Populism is neither left nor right movement, its essence is anti-elite, anti-system, anti- Europe. Concerning the economics, the populism and nationalism are anti-EU, anti-Germany as the EU leader and behind the mask of national protectionism they are ideologically pro-Russia and Latin-America oriented (Syriza in Greece, Podemos in Spain and National Front in France).
  •  Populism is against parliamentarism, against real democracy. Populist movements are using the idea of the direct democracy (democracy of proximity) but they are against the main structures of democracy and their ideas have much common with communism in the past, with anti-liberalism. The problem with nationalism and populism is that in politics it is not enough to produce fictional ideas, you have to give solutions.
  •  Populism is necessary nationalistic and against European integration. Its major policies include economic protectionism (far-left parties like Syriza in Greece and Podemos in Spain) and anti-immigration (far-right parties like National Front in France). The populist and nationalist movements in Spain attack the constitutional order and that is why today, Catalonia is a much nationalized society.
  •  The evolution of political situation in Greece has weakened those movements in EU. Populists practically want to stop the economy growth and increase the public expenditures and public Debt.
  •  In the last 5 years we have different problems which help the rise of populism, the economic and cultural concerns emerged. Populism and nationalism had changed because of the Eurozone crisis but they will continue changing under the influence of refugees' crisis.
  •  The history has been perverted by nationalist and populist movements.  After the Cold war the decisions were taken away from national authorities and for people is difficult to understand the solutions of the problems. The failure of traditional parties to show to the people the EU solidarity and compassion, to provide not only economic but also social measures is used by nationalist and populist movements to attack the EU integration.