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When Contestation Is the Norm: The Position of Populist Parties in the European Parliament Towards Conflicts in Europe’s Neighbourhood

  • Milan van BerloEmail author
  • Michal Natorski
Chapter
Part of the Norm Research in International Relations book series (NOREINRE)

Abstract

Populism defines numerous political movements with heterogeneous ideological platforms within the EU, but they share the self-definition as being the true representative of the ‘the people’ versus the national and EU ‘elite’. European populist parties have consolidated as an element of the political landscape in Europe, however, the positions of populist parties towards EU foreign policy remain understudied. This chapter asks how European populist parties contest EU foreign policy in the European Parliament. It argues that the populist approach to EU foreign policy in the European Parliament defies the organising principle of consensus and seeks to normalise the contestation above any substantive considerations. To illustrate this argument, this chapter analyses the practices of contestation of far-left (European United Left–Nordic Green Left/GUE-NGL) and far-right (Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy/EFDD) populist parties during the plenary debates and in motions for resolution on the Ukrainian and Syrian crises. Even though both the left-wing and right-wing populist parties continuously oppose the mainstream approach taken by other EU institutions and dominant EP political groups, they promote very heterogeneous alternative approaches. Therefore, the influence of populist parties on the European Parliament role in the EU foreign policy has been limited so far.

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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Governance and Global AffairsLeiden UniversityThe HagueThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Maastricht Graduate School of GovernanceUNU-MERIT, Maastricht UniversityMaastrichtThe Netherlands

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