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Populism: What are the challenges?

Populism refers to a range of political movements that emphasise the idea of the “the people” and often juxtapose this group against “the elite”.

Some anti-elitist movements evoke positive responses, for example, towards liberalism and constitutional reform. However, many populist movements have undesirable tendencies including intolerance of others, a tendency to polarise issues, reductionist decision making and the weakening of democratic accountability.

Responding to populism

How can EU political and liberal institutions mitigate the negative implications of populist movements?

The PaCE project will develop the analysis, tools and outcomes to better understand populist movements in European democracies and mitigate the negative aspects of populist tendencies in a context-sensitive manner.

The PaCE project will support a democratic response to populism by:

  • Analysing the type, growth and consequences of such movements in terms of their characteristics and context
  • Developing new tools, based on machine-learning algorithms for identifying and tracking populist narratives
  • Producing policy-oriented responses to populist movements

Ethical, Legal and social impact assessment to ensure sustainable innovation

Trilateral assesses the ethical, legal and social risks that need to be considered in the development of information communications technology that includes those adopted in PaCE but will also act as guidance for other consortia or organisations designing public engagement campaigns.

Enhancing Impact: facilitate knowledge exchange

Trilateral works on enhancing the project findings by creating a network including policymakers, civil society actors, educational institutions and the media to facilitate novel collaborations, amplifying PaCE’s results.

Trilateral’s work enhances stakeholders’ engagement in a critical debate regarding future policy challenges to develop a thoughtful democratic response to populism that mitigates the undesirable consequences of many populist movements.

Working with end-users in foresight scenarios

Trilateral hosts workshops with policymakers, civil society actors, and politicians to develop and validate foresight scenarios. These will help stakeholders understand how populist movements might develop, and the different ways that society can respond to these movements to inform better democratic responses that listen and respond to citizens’ voices.

Policy advice

Following the creation of PaCE technology, PaCE generates policy recommendations that support EU political and liberal institutions in responding to the negative tendencies of populist movements.

Trilateral outlines a set of ethical, legal and social recommendations to inform the development of policy recommendations that mitigate negative populist tendencies, for example, intolerance, polarisation, reductionist decision making and the weakening of democratic accountability, in a context-sensitive manner.

For more information and updates visit the PaCE website and follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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The PaCE project – Populism and Civic engagement – has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 822337.

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