How should Europe's left react to shift to right

Eurosceptic, nationalist and xenophobic movements have seen their popularity surge in the last few years in Europe. In view of this trend journalists discuss what the social democratic and left-wing politicians' response should be.

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Le Monde (FR) /

The solution is left-wing populism

The left needs to come up with an appropriate answer to right-wing populism, economist Thomas Piketty writes in Le Monde:

“Populism is nothing but a confused albeit legitimate answer to the popular classes' sense that they have been left to face globalisation and growing inequality on their own. To find a precise response to this challenge one must draw inspiration from the most internationalist elements of populism, that is the radical left represented by Podemos, Syriza, [US Democratic primaries candidate] Sanders or Mélenchon [of the French Parti de Gauche], regardless of their limits. Otherwise nationalist and xenophobic tendencies will rule the day.”

La Repubblica (IT) /

Revitalise democracy

After resigning in December, former Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi explained in an interview in La Repubblica on Sunday that he wants to stage a comeback. The French sociologist Marc Lazar writes in the same paper that it is time for the left to stop avoiding awkward questions:

“The left must address a series of existential problems, some of which Renzi referred to in the interview. For example the question of the future of the EU in view of the imminent danger of its dissolution. ... Then comes the question of democracy: on the one hand there is a massive rejection of the traditional parties, on the other a desire for increased participation. ... Then comes the threat posed by the so-called populists, whose simple and hence alluring answers are making them increasingly popular. Like [former French PM and presidential candidate] Valls and [ex-leader of Spain's Socialist party] Sánchez, Renzi must provide clear answers to these questions if he wants to have any future at all.”