In elections across Europe this year, populist politicians such as Marine Le Pen, Geert Wilders and Frauke Petry are challenging the long-established parties, claiming that they stand for the people against out-of-touch elites. They have moved the battleground of politics from competing policy alternatives to competing identity claims. Are their challenges harmful or beneficial for democracy? Are their parties the future of politics or will they fizzle out? And how will the EU be affected by the populist explosion? Heather Grabbe is director of the Open Society European Policy Institute, which lobbies the EU to promote justice, rights, democracy and good governance more effectively through its policies, laws, funding and external action. She will discuss what populism is and what the different populists want, how politics is changing in Europe, and whether the best way to deal with populists is ostracism or engagement.
Heather Grabbe is Director of the Open Society European Policy Institute in Brussels, working to ensure that open society values are at the heart of EU policies and actions, both inside and outside its borders. She was previously Senior Advisor to the European Commissioner for Enlargement, responsible in his Cabinet for the Balkans and Turkey, and has been Deputy Director of the Centre for European Reform. Her academic career includes teaching at the London School of Economics, and research at Oxford and Birmingham universities, Chatham House, and the European University Institute, and published widely on European issues.
Can the EU Survive Populism? (with Stefan Lehne, 2016), The EU’s Transformative Power: Europeanisation through Conditionality in Central and Eastern Europe (2006, Palgrave); The Constellations of Europe: How Enlargement will Transform the EU (2004, CER); and Enlarging the EU Eastwards (with Kirsty Hughes, 1998, Cassell).
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