Towards a New EU: Why Populism Can Save the European Union

  • Alessandro Drago
Keywords: Populism, European Union, Democracy, Political Parties, Social Movements


Europe has seen an alarming increase of populist parties throughout the last two decades. The European debt crisis has only added to their strength and support, and Eurosceptic attitudes have only increased, as exemplified by the recent Brexit vote. However, this exploratory paper will argue that the crisis to which populism has given rise allows the EU to critically reflect on itself and fix many of the fatal flaws that the increase in populist support has pointed out.  It will be argued that the EU needs to create a strong civic society to help mend its democratic deficit. Finally, it will be argued that by incorporating particular elements of populist thought and critique (i.e., democratization and fairer economic policies), that is, implanting an “alter-europeanization,” that the ugly side of populism (its xenophobia and racism) will begin to lose support within European countries.

Author Biography

Alessandro Drago

Alessandro Drago is a sociology PhD student at McGill University in Montreal. He is interested in the study of social movements and more broadly in political dissent. His current focus is on the Québec student movement, with a particular emphasis placed on the role of student associations/organizations in the facilitation of protests.


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