Europe’s Futures Colloquium II

Seminars and Colloquia

The Emigration Dynamics in the Western Balkans

How can record highs in the emigration of qualified people from the Western Balkans be beneficial for the region and its prosperity and future growth? Tapping into 6 million strong diaspora may offer some answers. Engaging with diaspora is critical not only to help consolidate the regional economic outlook, bring the latest cutting- edge technologies into the region and deepen know-how, but, even more importantly it can profoundly challenge current political narratives and help bring about much- needed energy and change. Questions like “What are the experiences of the emigrants?” “Under which conditions would they consider returning to the region?” and, ultimately, “What policies could bring a meaningful change in the medium term?” are just some to address.

Alida Vračić is the executive director and founder of the Sarajevo-based think-tank Populari and a Visiting Fellow at ECFR Berlin.

Understanding Tribal Politics in Europe

Instead of a “Populist Zeitgeist” in the West we often talk about, we should better talk about a “Tribalist Zeitgeist”. “Populism” is a weak term for many reasons.  Voters of populist parties (especially if their parties are on power) often do not show the typical attributes of populism.  They are neither people-centric, nor anti-elitist. They show authoritarian tendencies instead – combined with a Manichean worldview and a strong anti-pluralism. We can observe the emergence of a more ancient, more crude form of politics, in which tribal identities triumph over democratic norms. Tribalism is beyond populism: while the term “populism” requires some democratic minimum, tribalism is essentially anti-democratic.

Political tribalism is a mentality which can be characterized by three features: rallying around the leader of the tribe, suppressing any dissent in the own tribe and defeating the other tribe with every tools possible. Tribalism have a deep impact. For example, it can lead to double standards on corruption: voters of tribalist parties do not care about corruption of their beloved politicians because they think this is the collection of resources to a tribal war. Also, tribal mindset leads to support to transgression of democratic norms to winning tribal political wars – as we can observe in Poland and  Hungary – but to a smaller extent in Austria, Italy and the US and UK as well.  And last but not least: tribalism increases receptivity to fake news and conspiracy theories, as these tribaly myths can help defeat the other tribe.

Péter Krekó is director of the Political Capital Institute in Budapest.

Europe’s Futures – Ideas for Action
A strategic partnership initiative of IWM and ERSTE Foundation