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Anti EU-rhetoric versus national interests? Nationalistic populism and its reception in Central Europe

The CEU Campus
Monday, March 19, 2018, 9:30 am



Political discourse in Central Europe is increasingly shaped and influenced by EU-scepticism and aims at national based policy solutions rather than common European strategies. Often this discourse is characterized by simplified, nationalist-populistic rhetoric. This event is part of an EU-funded ‘Europe for Citizens’ research project that examines why political and societal actors resort to this “anti-European” rhetoric. It aims to show if/to what extent and why people believe in this rhetoric and regard it as justified. In addition, it seeks to depict to what extent “EU bashing” and isolationist, contrarian policymaking fails to deliver on its own promises, and may even be damaging to an effective promotion of national interests.

These are all very complex questions that bear significant relevance for current European politics. The project adopts a bottom-up approach, which involves the opinions of as many citizens as possible in the countries concerned (Austria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia, Slovenia). The present roundtable will present the initial findings of the project based on a representative public opinion survey conducted in all five countries that asked questions relating to trust in EU institutions and policies, anti-migration attitudes, and trust in democracy.

09:30-10:00 Registration

10:00-10:05 Opening Remarks: Péter Balázs, Director, CENS

10:05-10:30 Keynote: Péter Krekó, Executive Director, Political Capital

10:30-12:00 Roundtable Discussion


Panelist will be representing the five partner institutions

  • Paul Schmidt – Secretary General, ÖGfE – Austrian Society for European Politics, Vienna, Austria (Lead Organisation)
  • Christian Kvorning Lassen – Research Fellow, EUROPEUM – Institute for European Policy, Prague, Czech Republic
  • András Szalai – Research Fellow, Center for European Neighborhood Studies, Central European University, Budapest, Hungary
  • Dominika Hajdu – Project Coordinator, GLOBSEC Policy Institute, Bratislava, Slovakia
  • Jure Požgan – Researcher, Centre of International Relations, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia

Chair: Dániel Bartha – Director, Centre for Euro-Atlantic Integration and Democracy


See presentations on preliminary findings of the partnering countries below