PDU Study: The rise of populist and extremist parties in the EU: The case of Hungary and Austria

This study explores the rise of right-wing political movements in Hungary and Austria and elaborates on the tools at Europe’s disposal to tackle these issues.



The study analyses the phenomena of rising populism and extremism in the European Union, more precisely it focuses on the authoritarian, rule-breaking behaviour of the Hungarian government along with the rise of euroscepticism in Hungary. It begins with a presentation of the situation in Hungary through examining Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s Fidesz: its history and political guidelines during 25 years of the party’s existence and how it changed the Hungarian political scene since achieving a decisive majority in the Hungarian parliamentary elections of 2010. The study also focuses on the rising tendency of eu- roscepticism in the Central Eastern European coun- try and discusses the case of Austria’s Freedom Party as a similar case in comparison with the Hungarian one. These examples are used to illustrate that some important European politicians are often very close to endangering the principles of liberal democracy upon which the EU’s policy-making is supposed to be built. Although the Union has a constitutional toolkit for re- acting to breeches of basic EU values, applying these measures against EU members requires long and complicated procedures. This is why the study con- cludes with offering recommendations about what is the best way to treat outlier Member States and to reduce the popularity of extremist right-wing parties. A closer cooperation with other international orga- nizations, setting up and monitoring national action plans and strengthening Article 7 TEU are only a few of the options the EU has in order to find a long term solution for its current problems in this regard.


PDU Study 1/2015

PDU Study 1/2015

The rise of populist and extremist parties in the EU

The Case of Hungary and Austria






Image ‘Protest of citizens of Budapest against whitewashing the role of Hungary in Holocaust’ courtesy of Karli Iskakova via Flickr, released under Creative Commons

Print Friendly