The Thinking Lab on Populism is dealing with one of the fastest growing phenomena in current European politics. Well known in other parts of the world, such as Latin America, the concept of populism is still an unclear one. While many experts and journalists characterize very heterogenous political movements such as Podemos on the one hand, and far right protest movements like the German Alternative für Deutschland, as being populist, the Thinking Lab is benefiting from a broader view on the matter and will try to bring clarity in the debate.


Populism Social Cohesion Interview

“The European Union is a victim of its own success”

Cas Mudde on the root causes of populism in Europe, the best counter strategies against populists – and why the 'Paradise Papers' are not part of the political agenda4 December 2017 | Benedikt Weingärtner
Cas Mudde on Populism in Europe and strategies against it.
© Left: Rio Gandara (Helsingin Sanomat) / Right: Leigh Phillips

Cas Mudde is one of the most renowned experts on political extremism and populism in Europe. He is Associate Professor of International Affairs at the University of Georgia and Researcher at the Center for Research on Extremism at the University of Oslo. In his interview for ‘Dialogue on Europe’ he talks about the structural reasons behind the rise of populist movements all over Europe, the failure of the traditional parties and why tax havens, unlike migration issues, are not part of the political agenda.

Migration Integration Germany Interview

“There has been a constant neglect of the migration reality”

Interview with Meike Behrends on migration and asylum policy in Germany4 December 2017 | Maria Skóra
© Left: Ineedawsomepics/pixabay / © Right: Private

In 2015, almost one million asylum-seekers came to Germany and the country still has to cope with the repercussions of this development – in social, political and economic terms. Yet, migration and integration is not a new phenomenon to Germany. In this interview, Meike Behrends, an expert on European migration policy talks about the historic development of migration in Germany and how the country’s integration approach has changed during the last decades.

Book review

The people’s verdict – adding informed citizen voices to public decision-making by Claudia Chwalisz

Reviewed by Sophie Pornschlegel17 October 2017 | Sophie Pornschlegel

With case studies from Australia and Canada and a short comparative analysis of deliberative formats in the UK, this short book tries to convince skeptical decision-makers that, given the right framework, people can be good, legitimate and efficient decision-makers.


Populism is not the problem

Why we should focus on values in political debate instead of style25 July 2017 | Hanno Burmester
"AfD Wahlkampfauftakt" (CC BY-NC 2.0) by

Populism is everywhere these days. Not only as a phenomenon but also as a topic in political discourse. Yet, the closer you look at it, the more you will realize that populism is quite a messy term. It signifies everything from an unease towards dissent, to the fear of a weakened democracy. More importantly, once you get a grip on how you define the term you will realize that populism may be destructive and inflammatory but is not the real problem. It is mostly a symptom for fundamental conflicts in society.

Press Event Populism

Voices from the Thinking Lab on Populism

An interview with Orange Magazine6 April 2017 | Anna Romandash, Demetrios Pogkas

During the second Thinking Lab Summit in Paris, Orange Magazine spoke with Elena García Mañes and Filipe Santos Henrique. They talked about their stances on Populism in Europe.

Populism Thinking Lab Summit Analysis

Security Pivot Towards a Police State in France

Populisms' Slippery Slope5 February 2017 | Félix Blanc
"Police Francaise - Policía francesa - F" (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) by Oscar in the middle

The first European Thinking Lab took place from 25-27 November in Lisbon. During the Summit, the contributors cooperated within their Thinking Lab and worked out brief policy proposals. Félix Blanc is engaged with the topic of a Security Pivot towards a Police State in France.

Populism in Eastern Europe

An analysis of Elena Marcela Coman21 January 2017
"Jobbik flags" (CC BY-NC 2.0) by Leigh Phillips

Thwarting the Political Cleavages of Western Europe – What We Can Learn from Populists. Elena Marcela Coman outlines the historic trajectory and specific traits of populist movements in Eastern Europe.

Populism Analysis

On the Making of Trump – The Blind Spot That Created Him

Otto Scharmer analyses the factors underlying Trump's victory 17 January 2017
"Josh_eye" (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) by operationotter

According to Scharmer, three main divides within the United States contributed to the success of Donald Trump, which took many by surprise.

Populism Analysis

We Need Good Answers Now

Hanno Burmester on the election of Donald Trump11 January 2017 | Hanno Burmester
"Question the Answers" (CC BY 2.0) by walknboston

The helplessness of the left allows the triumph of the right. Five hypotheses on the election of Donald Trump

Populism Analysis

What We Can Learn from Populists – A Populist Backlash in the Philippines

Duterte: The Success of the "Celebrity Maverick"2 January 2017 | Sophie Pornschlegel
"✊👊 Atin to pre! #Duterte #dutertefo" (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) by incrediblethots

How come the “celebrity maverick” has proven so successful with his unconventional, violent and vile approach? Why does Duterte’s populism attract so many voters and enabled him to become President?