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Causes of the Rise of Populism in Europe: Roundtable Discussion Summary Report

The roundtable titled Causes of the Rise of Populism in Europe, organized by the JM Chair Populism and the Future of Democracy, performed yesterday on 20th April at 14:00, gather more than 15 participants who were listening to the presentation of Dr. Matevž Tomšič, who very briefly, yet systematically and understandably, presented the phenomenon of populism. The meeting was according to measures imposed by the Slovenian government, taking place on the Zoom platform. The discussion which lasted for about an hour was led by Dr. Victor Cepoi.

For better understanding of populism which is without a doubt a very hot topic in everyday conversation among people and thus often misused either by politicians or by mainstream media, Mr. Tomšič divided the presentation of this term into five different parts. Considering the above-mentioned words, it is not a surprise that the presentation first started with the definition of populism, which was then followed by conceptualization of its characteristics as well as varieties of it. In the second part of presentation Dr. Tomšič continued with description of factors that contribute to the rise of populism while at the same time did not forget to mention the responsibility of political elites who cannot address the citizens in the way like they did in the past, which is of course connected also with the new challenges that Europe is facing. Low participation in the election could be mentioned as just one of the most visible examples as well as the rise of small populist parties bringing simple and easily understandable solution to these very complex challenges which are often global and as such need a common approach. In short, we can describe this trend as the crisis of the representative democracy. Populism is, as nicely explained by Mr. Tomšič, a symptom rather than a cause and as such needs to be studied from that perspective.

At the very end of the presentation, there was also a place for discussion where participants could ask Mr. Tomšič anything regarding the populism as well as present their own ideas and opinions.


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