- Laura-Kristine Krause, Director, More in Common, Germany.
- Natalie Nougayrède, Editorial Board Member of The Guardian, and Richard von Weizsäcker Fellow of the Robert Bosch Academy.
- Zsuzsanna Szelényi, former Member of Parliament, Hungary, and Richard von Weizsäcker Fellow of the Robert Bosch Academy.
There is a lot of discussion about “populism” these days. Meanwhile, the overarching phenomena behind it and the risk of severe polarisation is less debated. Yet, there is evidence that political polarisation is growing in every European society with harmful impact on governance and democracy.
While political polarisation is a natural character of pluralistic society, current social divisions are deepening and weakening social trust and the respect of political norms. More parties appear on the extreme – and the moderate centre is getting weaker. Political division can reach a level that undermines the consensus-building potential of a society. Growing polarization is exacerbating intolerance and discrimination, corroding legislative processes, and eroding democratic institutions and the nonpartisan stature of the judiciary.
Some countries are imploding under an extreme form of polarization, such as Hungary, Britain and the United States, while others, such as France and Germany, are in the midst of a painful struggle against it.
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