Trade unions and right-wing populism in Europe

At an FES fringe event at the ETUC Congress in Berlin, trade unionists discuss the results of the study on “Trade Unions and Right-Wing Populism in Europe”

Reiner Hoffmann and two other trade unionists present the study result at an an FES side event at the ETUC Congress in Berlin. They sit next to each other at a table.

Image: of Marc Meinardus

The rise of right-wing populist movements and parties is an almost universal phenomenon in Europe. Right-wing populist tendencies are not without consequences for the trade unions. On the contrary, the social patterns of interpretation propagated by right-wing populism are highly problematic for trade unions. The trade unions perceive right-wing populism, albeit to different extents, as a force that on the one hand endangers the representation of interests in solidarity by strategically weakening trade union solidarity relationships and on the other hand calls into question the other was a frontal attack on the trade unions themselves. This is primarily aimed at the institutional power of unions.

Against this background, the Friedrich-Ebert-Foundation, in agreement with the DGB, initiated a Europe-wide study at the beginning of 2022 to examine the trade union options for dealing with right-wing populist forces. To this end, a series of 12 country studies was commissioned, as well as a comprehensive comparative analysis of the political processes and trade union experiences in the participating countries.

The study results were presented and discussed at an FES side event at the ETUC Congress in Berlin on May 25, 2023. You can find the individual studies here. The book with all the results you find here.


Head of Project

Mirko Herberg

+49 (0)30 26935-7458

Matthias Weber

+49 (0)30 26935-7744


Contact persons for specific requests


Contact person

Marc Meinardus
Dr. Marc Meinardus
+49 30 26935-7744