On 29 September 2016, the Institute of Public Affairs (Poland) in cooperation with the Friedrich Ebert Foundation Warsaw and the EU-Russia Civil Society Forum organised the international seminar "Populists and Demagogues | What Attracts People to Them?". The debates were held at the New Theatre in Warsaw.

The starting point for the event were signs of retreat from the democracic values in the Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) – be it a new Polish media law, Hungary’s "illiberal democracy", or a stance by high level officials from the Czech Republic or Slovakia on the migrants’ crisis and Islam. Besides, the speakers were requested to give answer to the question, which external influences contributed to the trend of growing Euroscepticism and populism.

The seminar was divided into two panel debates – on the socioeconomic and the sociocultural backgrounds for the current crisis respectively. Representatives of the member organisations in the EU-Russia Civil Society Fprum – Dr Jacek Kucharczyk from the Institute of Public Affairs (Poland) and Tomáš Jungwirth from the Association for International Affairs (Czech Republic) – as well as guests invited by the Forum – Dr Bulcsú Hunyadi from the Political Capital Institute (Hungary) and Anton Shekhovtsov from the Institute for Human Sciences (Austria) – along with other panelists coming from Austria, Germany and Poland – joined in the lively conversations on the topic. 

Apart from that, members of the Forum’s Steering Committee and the Secretariat used the opportunity of being in Poland for various advocacy visits, including those in the run-up of the 3rd Forum for Young Professionals "Europe Lab" to be held in July 2017 at the European Solidarity Centre in Gdańsk.

The videos from the debates (in Polish) are available here.