Populist policy positions in the European Parliament: The Eurozone Crisis

Balázs Horváthy, Viktor Szép

Research output: Working paperAcademic


The 2008 financial crisis and the subsequent sovereign debt crisis posed major challenges for the Member States of the European Union and resulted in a comprehensive reform of the European economic governance. This paper scrutinizes one aspect of the nexus between the Eurozone crisis and the spread of populism in
Europe. It questions how the populist challenge affected the European Parliament’s work in a time of crisis, examining how populist views shaped the voting behaviours of Members of the European Parliament, how populist policy positions were articulated in the debates and how these affected the economic governance reform. The most important measures of the reform consisted of the ‘Six-Pack’, the ‘Two-pack’ and the ‘Fiscal compact’ adopted in the 7th term of the European Parliament (2009–2014). The adoption of the selected measures required procedural mechanisms, including both legislative and non-legislative, in which the parliament held different institutional
positions; all measures generated plenary debates. The paper explores these debates by identifying the most important policy questions: mainstream and populist alike. We conclude that populist discourses were comparable, their patterns in different debates were similar, and nearly the same arguments emerged in those debates. Populist positions were mainly heterodox, not constructive, and went hand-in-hand with Eurosceptic sentiments.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherDEMOS Working Paper Series
Number of pages25
Publication statusPublished - 2021
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NameDEMOS Working paper

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