Is there a populist foreign policy?

This paper focuses on the broader approaches that populists take to questions of foreign policy beyond Europe and in particular on their attitudes to Atlanticism.
Research paper ISBN: 978 1 78413 467 9
European populists

Dr Angelos Chryssogelos

Former Associate Fellow, Europe Programme

In recent years, populist movements in Europe have been perceived as a threat to the liberal international order. However, a closer look at the actions of such populists when they are in government casts significant doubt over this narrative.

This paper focuses on the broader approaches that populists take to questions of foreign policy beyond Europe and in particular on their attitudes to Atlanticism. While it is misleading to generalize about a single populist approach to foreign policy, there are certain distinct themes and positions that link some populist figures, movements and parties. 

The perception of a populist takeover of Europe distracts from the real difficulties in developing a coherent, effective foreign policy that balances the national interests of different European countries and their strategic cultures.