In Europe and beyond, today populism is alive and kicking. Over the past few years, anti-establishment parties have made substantial strides. Some of them have reached the levers of governments, while others are consolidating their gains.
Recent political events – from Trump’s election to the outcome of the Brexit Referendum - have somehow caught the world by surprise, and are contributing to a growing sense of concern or even alarm about the future of the Western world and, particularly, Western democracies as we know them.
Last year’s events further exacerbated and focused global attention on the same uncertainties already weighing on the past decade: from Brexit, and the ensuing uncertainty about the future of the UK-EU relations, to the ever-growing success of populist and nationalist movements across Europe; from the unnerving paralysis of the international community on the war in Syria to the new wave of terrorist attacks in Europe; from renewed political and economic crises in pivot countries such as Brazil, South Africa, Egypt and Turkey to Donald Trump’s victory in the US presidential elections, which may turn out to be a new and momentous source of uncertainty, also casting doubts on the remaining resilience of multilateral cooperation.
The 2017 ISPI report aims to analyze how such uncertainties are spreading from last year’s events, but also to try to fathom deeper trends. The first part of the Report will focus on the overall development of the international scenario, both from a political and an economic standpoint. The second part will shift the spotlight to Italy, where global uncertainties overlap with deep internal uncertainties and vulnerabilities.
Donald Trump’s Republican presidential nomination and the Brexit have shocked and somehow caught by surprise the entire world. A growing sense of concern or even alarm is now spreading across Western countries and is putting traditional democratic processes to the test.
In particular, when looking at the political landscape in Europe, populism may turn out to be an unprecedented game-changer. Populists parties came to power in Poland and Hungary, they are in coalition governments in Switzerland and Finland, top the polls in France and the Netherlands, and their support is at record highs in Sweden. Not to mention the recent rise of Alternative für Deutschland in Germany and the successful story of Syriza, Podemos and of the Five Stars Movement in southern Europe.
This Report explores the rise of populism in Europe and the US by analyzing its root causes, the rationale behind its success, its impact on traditional political parties and, more broadly, on Western democracies. It also draws some policy recommendations to tackle this widespread challenge.