Long before President Donald Trump’s victory, Europe’s populist movements have been on the cusp of sweeping far-right, nationalist and euroskeptic parties into power across the continent in a series of upcoming elections. Once consigned to the fringes of the political scene, these parties now legitimately stand front and center alongside their more traditional counterparts.
The word “populism” and “populist movements” are everywhere in the media. But what the concept means in the everyday realities of citizens of Europe? Opinions might differ.
Many also claim that the upcoming European elections in several countries elections and the decisions citizens take might bring an end to the European project sooner than the Brexit negotiations would finish.
What will happen in France? It could be very impactful for the rest of Europe – especially if we begin to see a trend or more similar activity in the Netherlands and other countries.
What about Italy? Italy is well-known for its fluid political spectrum, having seen a number of populist parties come and go over the years.
And the more East we go in Europe the more we are being confronted with the alarming signs of populist movements taking gradual and stable ownership of not only political parties but of the mind of the general population. The case of Hungary, once being ‘the odd one out’ is slowly becoming the mainstream.
Application form for the conference: EPM Zagreb 2017 February 23-28 – “Populism and anti-European agitation”
What can we do?
AEGEE / European Students’ Forum is organising one of the biggest thematic conferences for 250 young people in order to learn more not only about populism and its possible consequences for the future of Europe, but also to plan the next steps from an active and aware young generation that is not willing to leave space for radicalisation and extremism to take over the Europe we believe in.
The European Planning Meeting Zagreb will host a 3-days-event where young people from all corners will gather to learn from experts, to discover many different social factors that can cause the risk of populism, from media to identity questions, to debate about possible causes and consequences and to create an action plan where the network unites in action.
Young people have the power to change the course of tomorrow by not abiding to societal trends that are seemingly harmless, yet can have detrimental effects on the continent. AEGEE, therefore have put the development of flagship initiatives for its future that will bring back the most important European values to its members, and the society we live in.
AEGEE’s response to populism is exploring in detail how equal rights in society can change people’s mindset, how civic education can equip you with the most important skills to become an active citizen, how youth and skills development will build a smart society, and how European citizenship has been building a generation of young activists who don’t recognise national borders on the map or in the mindset.
AEGEE builds bridges for intercultural dialogue and understanding and creates space to explore common European challenges together, showcasing the different country’s reality by not focusing on the country at all: but by building a network of empowered cities that reaches out to the grassroot layers of society, reaching small communities and citizens as individuals and as change-makers.
If you would like to learn more about AEGEE and our activities and actions, start by joining us at the European planning Meeting Zagreb!