The rise of populism and the 2019 European Parliament election: Causes and implications for Europe

The upcoming 2019 European parliament election is increasingly portrayed as a fundamental turning point in the process of European integration. Following electoral gains in previous European and national elections in recent years, anti-EU populist parties are expected to increase their support even further, challenging the European project at its core. How can we explain the support of these parties and what are the implications for the future of Europe?

In this talk, Daphne Halikiopoulou will address these questions by focusing on multiple dimensions of populism. She argues that since the EP elections are considered “second order elections,” they will be used to cast protest votes, thus exaggerating the performance of niche parties. However, she argues that the implications of these elections for the European project are still significant, because of the ability of anti-EU populist parties to permeate mainstream ground and delegitimize the idea of a united Europe.

Niklas Anzinger from Dalia Research will join Daphne for a discussion and will offer his insights from a European polling perspective.

This event is part of the Examining populism series, which invites speakers of different disciplinary backgrounds for discussions on the causes, effects and implications of the populist rise. It is co-chaired by Hanna Schwander, Professor of Public Policy, and Christian Flachsland, Assistant Professor of Climate and Energy Governance at the Hertie School.

Guest speaker

Daphne Halikiopoulou is Associate Professor in Comparative Politics at the University of Reading. Her work focuses on populism, nationalism and the cultural and economic determinants of far right party support in Europe. She is author of The Golden Dawn’s ‘Nationalist Solution’: explaining the rise of the far right in Greece (with Sofia Vasilopoulou) and numerous articles on European far right parties. Her work has been published in the European Journal of Political Research, the Journal of Common Market Studies, Nations and Nationalism and Government and Opposition among others. She has received an award from the American Political Science Association for her work (with Tim Vlandas) on labour market institutions and far right party support (2016). She is an editor of the journal Nations and Nationalism and co-editor (with Daniel Stockemer) of the Springer book series in Electoral Politics.


Niklas Anzinger is responsible for end-client relationships and strategic research at Dalia Research. He has developed large-scale research solutions for leading brands in the public and private sector. Before joining Dalia, Niklas worked in management consulting at Roland Berger and political research at the Hertie School, the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) and the American Enterprise Institute (AEI).


Hanna Schwander is Professor of Public Policy at the Hertie School. Located at the intersection between comparative politics, political sociology and political economy, her research is guided by an interest in how post-industrial transformations of welfare states, labour markets and societies affect various aspects of political life.

About the Examining populism series

The political landscapes of capitalist democracies are in motion. The Brexit-referendum, the elections of Donald Trump and Jair Bolsonaro are only the most prominent examples that illustrate the growing relevance of populism in contemporary democracies. Populism challenges the core mission of the Hertie School to contribute to a fact-based and inclusive public policy debate based on cosmopolitan values.