Populism, Polarization, Politicization, Participation. Projecting the EU Beyond the Market?

Research Paper by Francesco Nicoli



The goal of this study is to investigate whether the rise in Euroscepticism observed in the Euro Area in the last years may have democratic-enhancing effects alongside its often-discussed negative implications. The paper focuses on the emergence of Eurosceptic forces in the Euro Area countries, engaging both in horizontal comparative analysis and in the discussion of two case studies, Italy and the Netherlands. The first part of the work focuses on the presentation of the main theoretical approaches that expected a rise of populism as a reaction to the politicization of the European construction. The second part of the paper analyses the effects of populism on the sequential chain of polarization, politicization and participation of European policies both at national and European level. The results suggest that although the rise of populism may have short term negative implications for the political system, it also provides a push to pursue a more democratically-oriented pattern to the full politicization of the EU.