Click the link on the right to access the full report
Have we reached peak populism? After the Trump and Brexit earthquakes of 2016, the liberal order has been fighting back. This year has seen Emmanuel Macron’s surge to power in France, Angela Merkel’s re-election, the defeat of Geert Wilders in the Netherlands. Last year may, hopefully, have marked the crest of the populist wave. Yet, the debate showed this is clearly no time for complacency.
Populists on the left and right are now the most visible opposition in France; the far-right is a significant force in the German Bundestag for the first time since the Second World War; populists made fresh electoral gains in central Europe in the days after October’s debate.
In the wider world, Europe has to cope with Russian meddling, the Trumpian disorder, the risk of an antagonistic slide to Brexit, violence and authoritarianism on the southern and eastern flanks.
The 2017 State of Europe high-level roundtable looked into the core of the many problems feeding in to populism and focused on finding concrete solutions – from innovative ways to narrow the gulf between people and politicians, to re-energising Europe’s role on the crowded world stage; from harnessing technology for social good, to crafting an educational response to the fast-changing world of work, and promoting positive migration narratives.
The one overarching theme was a search for innovative ideas that can counter irrational, backward-looking rhetoric and turn the challenges of this age of uncertainty into opportunities for a brighter democratic European future.