On Thursday, December 13th, the Atlantic Council’s Global Business and Economics Program and the Embassy of Spain co-hosted an event on rising populism in Europe, celebrating the occasion of the 40th anniversary of Spain’s pluralistic constitution.

The event discussed how policymakers can address root causes of populism, drawing lessons from Spain’s experience. It featured experts Professor Argelia Queralt of Barcelona University and Douglas Rediker, Founding Partner and Chairman of International Capital Strategies and Nonresident Senior Fellow at Brookings Institution, with introductory remarks from His Excellency Santiago Cabanas Ansonera, Ambassador of Spain to the United States.

Ambassador Ansonera acknowledged that rising populism is an unquestionable reality in Europe, and a pressing problem for the liberal and democratic order built after the second World War. In the Spanish context, populism has manifested itself under the form of radical nationalism in Catalonia that has provoked an institutional crisis to Spanish democracy. Professor Argelia Queralt of Barcelona University, a legal scholar and a close observer of populist and separatist movements in Europe outlined the challenges presented by populist movements and the legal implications of the Catalan secessionist movement. Doug Rediker then discussed feasible political solutions to address movements that draw on populist themes, be it whether secessionist or anti-establishment. A Q&A session with the audience followed.