News·2 min read

Populist Movements around Europe

December 8, 2016

The story

The European Union has been in crisis management mode for years. And lately, there’s a new trend in town: European populism parties.

I know what populism is but I want to hear you say it.

Populist movements tend to be anti-establishment, frustrated, and tired with the same-old way of doing things. They can be left or right leaning. Usually, it’s working class voters coming together to take their government back from the ‘out-of-touch elites’ in charge. If you think you’ve heard a politician use this line on you before,

you have

So how'd we get here?

The EU’s populist wave has been building for years. It started when the

global financial crisis

hit in ‘08 and then everyone woke up to

a Greek tragedy

. After years of living like it was a big fat Greek wedding, Greece found itself in debt.


What then?

Sh*t got real.

Portugal, Cyprus, Ireland, and Spain also needed bailouts

. Unemployment rates rose and pension funds took serious hits. After a few years, most countries pulled back from the brink of crisis. But the

EU’s economy

Anything else?

Yup. ICYMI, many countries in

the Mideast and Africa

haven’t been ideal places to live lately. Think: weak economies,


, a brutal civil war in


. That’s led millions of

migrants and refugees

to leave home for the EU. It’s the worst immigration crisis the continent’s faced since WWII. And the EU is deeply split on what to do. Some countries (like Hungary

) have tried to install fences to keep them out, but others (like Germany

So where are we now?

Take a lot of anxiety over the migrant and refugee crisis, stir in lingering economic issues, and you have populist stew. Here’s what's been going down...

The UK


The US in not an EU country. But ICYMI, the US is a major global superpower – and the EU’s strongest ally and trading buddy. So when Donald Trump got elected on an anti-establishment, tough-on-immigration message,

a lot of populist parties

Italy in the one that said ‘arrivederci’ to Prime Minister Matteo Renzi in a surprise vote in 2016. And it looks like the

Five Star Movement

France and the Netherlands

Oy, so what happens now?

More elections. Next up: Germany and Austria. So far,

populist parties with an anti-EU streak

have been the popular kids at the polls. But some say their winning streak may be

coming to an end


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