Fellow Talk
Di 23 Jan 2024 | 16:00–17:00

Populist Skirmishers: Rule of Law as the Arch-Enemy of Democracy in the European Union?

Fellow Talk by Karolina Zbytniewska (EURACTIV Poland, Warsaw University) | Chair: Karolina Kocemba (European University Institute, University of Wrocław) | Discussant: Núria González Campañá (Universitat de Barcelona)

Karolina will advance her research on her original concept of “populist skirmishers”, understood as ruthless frontrunners of mainstream populist parties who push forward their populist radical right agenda. She names them “populist skirmishers” by transplanting the military term into the realm of political science. Historically, skirmishers were light infantry securing and advancing the army by probing enemy’s lines, usually by opening the military action as a part of the vanguard, but also fighting side‐ and rear‐guard battles, reaching out more broadly than the general line of their army. Political skirmishers employ the same tactics, only the battlefield changes from a physical into a political one.

The research will focus on how populist skirmishers are the frontrunners of derailing the project of European integration under the guise of fighting for national sovereignty and “real” democracy. Karolina believes it is important to juxtapose this notion with the historical trajectory of how and why the concept of rule of law has become the backbone of European integration and how the polycentric European polity has become the bulwark of postwar peace.

Karolina Zbytniewska is Chief Editor at EURACTIV Poland, a major Polish expert media focusing on European and global affairs. She is a political scientist specialized in democracy and populism, lecturing at Warsaw University, alumna of Fulbright, Marie Curie Research Fellowship, and Bertelsmann Leaders for Europe programme. Currently Karolina is a re:constitution Fellow. She is also a regular public speaker and political commentator at Polish and international media.

The Fellow Talk will be chaired by Karolina Kocemba, and Núria González Campañá will be the discussant.

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