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


EU Programme:

Europe for Citizens, Strand 2: Democratic engagement and civic participation, 2.3. Civil Society Projects

The project:

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 project wants to examine why political and societal actors resort to this “anti-European” rhetoric. It aims at showing if/to what extent and why people believe in this rhetoric and regard it as justified. Finally, it shall depict if and to what extent “EU bashing” and isolationist policymaking not only fails to deliver on its own promises, but in the medium and long run may even damage national interests. To come up with potential answers to these questions, it seems crucial to initiate a bottom-up approach, which involves the opinions of as many citizens as possible in the countries concerned (Austria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia, Slovenia).

Project phases:

  1. public opinion surveys in each of the participating countries;
  2. round tables with civil society and media representatives;
  3. public events with the wider public;
  4. analyses and op-eds by the five partner organizations;
  5. two closing public events in Brussels and Vienna.

Project duration: 01/09/2017 – 28/02/2019

Project budget: € 147.750

Project partners:

  • ÖGfE – Austrian Society for European Politics, Vienna, Austria (Lead Organisation)
  • EUROPEUM – Institute for European Policy, Prague, Czech Republic
  • Center for European Neighborhood Studies, Central European University, Budapest, Hungary
  • GLOBSEC Policy Institute, Bratislava, Slovakia
  • Centre of International Relations, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia