Public Debate in Strasbourg - World Forum 2017

"Populism: A force for good or ill?"

Populist Fist resizedIn the sidelines of the World Forum for Democracy 2017, the Association of Schools of Political Studies held a public debate in Strasbourg City Centre (ERAGE) entitled "Populism: a force for good or ill?" The Flyer can be found here.

The recent elections in Austria, Germany and the Czech Republic have shown have shown that the anti-European populist tide is not receding. On the contrary, populist parties have cemented their place in the European political spectrum by stressing simplistic versions of reality and the myth of giving power back to the people. Can populism ever have an invigorating effect on democracy? Or is it a force working against the people, destined to undermine the European project and distort the democratic functioning of modern states?


  • Catherine Lalumière (France) – President of the Association of Schools of Political Studies and former Secretary General of the Council of Europe
  • Ana Gomes (Portugal) – Member of the European Parliament
  • Krzysztof Bobinski (Poland) – President of the Unia & Polska Foundation
  • Emil Pain (Russia) – Professor of Economics, National Research University in Moscow
  • Quentin Peel (United Kingdom) – Associate fellow of the Europe Programme at Chatham House



Following the presentations by our five speakers on the situation of populism in their own countries, the debate was opened up to the audience and a lively discussion ensued. Topics included the question of whether populism can be defined and understood in the same way in "old" or western democracies and "new" or post-Soviet democracies. In addition, in countries which are not pluralist democracies at all, can populism even be said to exist at all?

On the occasion of the 28th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, some parallels were made between the populism of the late 1980s which arguably had a positive impact, leading the fall of many communist regimes across Europe, and the more ambiguous form of populism taking hold today.

The speech given by Catherine Lalumière, President of the Association of Schools of Political Studies, can be found here.

2 web











9 web












8 web













1 web

4 web