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Has Brexit Pushed Europe Away from the Political Centre Ground?

Chatham House, London


Professor Matthew Goodwin, Visiting Senior Fellow, Europe Programme, Chatham House
Professor Jocelyn Evans, Professor of Politics, Leeds University
Natalie Nougayrede, Foreign Affairs Commentator, The Guardian
Chair: Sasha Polakow-Suransky, Fellow, Open Society Foundations


Since the UK electorate voted in favour of leaving the European Union in June, there has been speculation about the extent to which the vote will impact other countries in Europe. In the lead up to the elections taking place in France, Germany, Austria and the Netherlands in 2017, polls are currently showing, in all cases, a rise in the popularity of far-right parties.

Our panellists will first analyse the Brexit vote and national sentiment towards the EU in other member states. They will then consider the role far-right and far-left narratives played in the UK’s EU referendum and will question if traditional centrist parties have fallen out of touch with their constituents and where have those voters gone. The panel will go on to discuss whether the vote for Brexit caused or exacerbated a move away from the political centre across Europe - analysing whether Brexit itself was a symptom of an already existing sentiment or if it is driving the rise of political extremes playing out in the European elections.