Italy’s Fight with Populism

Over the last decade or so in Europe, populism has been on the rise in many countries, from Greece to France to the Netherlands. Italy is no exception to this trend; populism has manifested in both left- and right-wing groups, and these parties have been able to garner enough support to, for extended periods of time, have a majority in the Parliament. However, recently, populism has taken a hit in Italy; the current Prime Minister is the former president of the European Central Bank, a pro-EU technocrat who stands for the same ideas populist parties rallied against as they rose to power. How did this happen, and what does the future of populism in Italy look like? We discuss these questions and more with today’s guest, Dr. Giovanna De Maio.

 Italy’s Fight with Populism

Giovanna De Maio is a nonresident fellow in the Center on the United States and Europe at Brookings and a visiting fellow with George Washington University’s Institute for European, Russian, and Eurasian Studies. With a background on Russia and international security, as well as on Italy’s relations with Russia, EU and United States, De Maio’s research analyzes Italian domestic and foreign politics, in light of the challenge posed by the rise of populism in the European Union and of the political instability in the Mediterranean. In particular, De Maio is working on the evolving topic of “direct democracy” in the Italian case and its possible consequences on democratic stability.


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