10% of the members of the new European Parliament are expected to be affiliated with a group considered populist, which poses a threat to the future of the European Union. With the elections approaching, Myeurop and its partner Citizens for Europe investigated in eight countries to identity these parties’ implantation strategies as well as traditional parties’ methods to counter them. This week Myeurop will be publishing two reports daily.

An estimated 60 to 80 of the Members of the European Parliament who will be elected between May 22nd and 25th will come from a group considered populist. This means that 10% of MEPs will be fiercely opposed to current European development and will in some cases defend profoundly anti-European or even Europhobic stances.

The objective here is not to pass a normative judgment on whether these groups looking for the public’s vote are compatible with democracy, nor to give a negative or scandalous connotation to the word “populism” – an ideology whose objective is to counter the abuses of a democracy confiscated by the elites by applying policies supposed to reflect ordinary people’s “common sense”. As it happens, populist parties or movements in Europe are very diverse and offer a wide range of formulae, from a kind of liberalism inspired by Poujadism to fervent nationalism which is sometimes on the edge of fascism or even Nazism, as in Hungary and Greece. The most commonly defended ideas advocate protectionism, the rejection of European supervision and a nationalist resistance to globalisation and the rise of multiculturalism. These groups are all hostile to immigration and some are openly islamophobic, for instance in the Netherlands, Scandinavia and Austria. In Eastern Europe, this islamophobia is less intense but gives way to anti-Semitism and anti-Roma racism.

Myeurop gives you the opportunity to take a direct look at those populist movements in eight countries where they are particularly active – France, Italy, the Netherlands, Denmark, Finland, Austria, Hungary and Greece. With the exception of the latter where the very extremist “Golden Dawn” party should not get more that 10% of the vote, populist groups in the other countries are expected to get more than 15% and even 20% in Italy, Denmark, France and Hungary.

(translation: Clemence Grison)