If you look at the political map of Europe these days, you cannot miss the distinctive success of populist movements in Central Europe, not to mention the alliance of Hungarian and Polish governments. With a group of participants from the region, we discussed populism in the Visegrád (V4) countries and its relevance for political communication during the online workshop series “The Story of Visegrád”.
What does populism mean? Why does populism spread across the world & across Europe. Why did populists come into power? Why does populism try to change the core of Europe and the European Union? And why is populism so strong in the Visegrád Group, especially in Poland and Hungary. There is no doubt, populism fueled a widespread crisis of democracy.
Orbán, Kaczyński, Babiš, Salvini, Le Pen, Farage. Politicians from different countries, with different political affiliations, but they definitely have one thing in common: they are all populists. But how come, that one “ideology” can connect these different politicians with different political views? Well, in this article I am going to synthetize and expound these connection points in order to have the ability to forge counter-narratives.
Some respected economists identified the issue of consolidation in public budget already in 2022 as a third-order problem. From an analytical point of view, he is, of course, right. A one-year deficit of 10% of GDP is nothing compared to a permanent two to five per cent deficit in the pension system with a declining workforce.
The front pages of many Polish newspapers and news portals as well as the screens of private TV stations remained black. In a joint action with the slogan “Media without a choice”, they protested against the plan of the government to introduce a tax on the advertising revenues of media companie
The Czech Chamber of Deputies’ decision to introduce a high quota for domestically produced food in large shops from 2022 also belongs in these ranks: especially in times of crisis like these, more self-sufficiency must be achieved in the long term.
The socially liberal camp around the world, including much of the European liberals, have been celebrating this turning of the tides, even though it comes at a cost of further polarisation of the society in the US and elsewhere.
Whilst waiting on the political and governmental reforms of the EU, we should be aware of our contemporary situation and stay modest in small steps: only such small steps could keep us on track with optimism of our founding fathers, both of the EU and liberal democracy.
Viktor Orbán’s national conservative Fidesz party is famous for its method of relentlessly searching the ideal topic for their next populist campaign. They need topics that allow them to dominate public life in the long term, and can be used to generate intense anger.