Populist Backlash, Democratic Backsliding, and the Crisis of the Rule of Law in the European Union


This project aims to inform strategies to increase democratic resilience by studying the mechanisms “exclusionary populists” use to increase their power by undermining the Rule of Law in the areas of law, the economy, and the media. The project also seeks to identify the “coping strategies” societal actors use when faced with exclusionary populism. This topic is highly relevant to the call themes by investigating the politics and economics of threat (Theme 2 – work packages 1 and 2); the democratisation of information (Theme 3 – WP3); and the changing authority of and trust in institutions (Theme 5 – all WPs).
Adopting an interdisciplinary approach spanning political economy, legal-, management-, and media studies, we compare Austria, Croatia, Germany, Hungary, Poland, Slovenia, the United Kingdom, and Turkey, all of which have experienced populist success.
Besides high-impact publications, the findings of the project will inform concrete solutions for challenges to democratic governance. We collaborate with the Cambridge Centre for Science and Policy, which will create five International Policy Fellowships for key stakeholders from the countries studied. These will constitute channels for evidence-based input from world-leading academics to inform coping strategies and stimulate cross-country knowledge exchange. Furthermore, we seek to reach a broader non-academic audience by collaborating with performing artists to stage a participatory performance in four cities to engage a dialogue with citizens from the countries we study. This project will be organised into four WPs, focussing on legal changes (WP1), business and economics (WP2), media and communications (WP3), and impact (WP4).


Project number


Main applicant

Dr. G. Schnyder

Affiliated with

Loughborough University, Institute for International Management


01/09/2020 to 31/08/2023