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Making Sense of Populism, Brexit and a Changing Europe

Chatham House, London


Professor Matthew Goodwin, Visiting Senior Fellow, Europe Programme, Chatham House

Chair: Dr Robin Niblett CMG, Director, Chatham House


Many commentators have suggested that the UK’s vote to leave the European Union was symptomatic of a growing public discontent over the political status quo and a wider rise in populist and protectionist rhetoric in European politics.

Matt Goodwin will argue that Brexit marks a culmination of trends in domestic and international politics that have been building over a number of years. Analysing Britain’s exit from the European Union, the French presidential elections and wider European political activity, he will discuss the rise of populism and the dynamics of public opinion that has evolved over recent years. He will offer insights into the vote in France and what this tells us about populist nationalism and its longer term prospects.

What were the key determining factors that influenced how people voted during the UK’s EU referendum? How has public opinion evolved since then and what is the relative importance of immigration when compared to economics, sovereignty and other battleground areas that were prevalent during the referendum campaign? And have the 2017 election campaigns in the Netherlands and France added to our understanding of any observable trends or have they complicated the picture further?

To enable as open a debate as possible, this event will be held under the Chatham House Rule.

This event is only open to Major Corporate Member and Partner organizations of Chatham House. If you would like to register your interest, please RSVP to Linda Bedford.