History repeats itself and humanity needs to get used to this. However, some mistakes of the past cannot be repeated due to the modern technology, which will turn them into fatal ones. The rise of populist far-right tendencies in Europe should be stopped until it destroys prosperity, peace and inclusiveness, which was reached by hard work of previous generations.

Many European countries have experienced populism disease recently. Poland, a country with communist past, joined the European Union, was becoming an important political player and economic power in Europe, has turned into populist far-right ideas and its society has become full of hate to foreigners. Present far-right government is pulling out every smallest controversial moment from history and building its politics on this. Hungarian nationalist government, like in Poland, has used the biggest human fear of unknown to invent threats coming from the EU and got victory once again in the latest elections. British citizens went further and voted to leave the EU two years ago. Today, Brexit is accepted reality, which is admired by populist groups in other EU’s countries.

Polish far-right Marsh on Polish independence Day in 2017.

Ridiculously, but blaming Russia for propaganda and producing fake news, some European countries use the same tools and ideas to make their societies feel threatened by external enemy the same way, as Russian leader does. European Union was built on democracy, knowledge, respect and freedom. Nowadays, nationalist governments restrict even such basic value of democracy as media freedom.

Nevertheless, liberal democracy has its victories in this fight. One of the most appealing one was the triumph of Emmanuel Macron with his pro-EU platform in French elections a year ago. The successful competition of hard coalition discussions in Germany left the country with its long-serving Chancellor Angela Merkel. Even with the rise of far right parties, Germany and France managed to protect core European values of liberal democracy.

This is exactly what Emmanuel Macron was telling in his appeal to the European Parliament in Strasbourg on 17th April. French President called for belief in a democratic renewal in the EU, as Europeans still need the EU, but a reformed one. He called European politicians for dialogue with EU’s citizens and stressed that the required change in policies, does not mean giving up democracy.

Therefore, while some social groups turn into simple populist ideas, others stay convinced in their democratic ideals. While communist Czech president is being reelected, his opponents are being consolidated and people show their dissatisfaction. Polish opposition has started cooperation in the name of democracy and gains every time more support. During ‘The Black Protest’, Polish women showed that they would not let politicians to control their bodies. And when Hungary reelects its far-right government, some people dare to come to the streets to protest. In these and many other countries population is divided almost by half. Therefore, if liberal leaders listen to the population and show that populism is not an alternative, they can win the same way like in France.

Protests in Hungary against the newly elected government of Viktor Orban. Credit: Bernadett Szabo/Reuters

When some forget lessons from history, others, who do remember, have its obligation to remind. If only we take responsibility for our societies, we can survive. Supporters of liberal values should not hide and accept its defeat. Yes, liberal democracies have lost battles in some countries in Europe. However, they have not lost the war. And some countries show us great examples. Population can be dissatisfied with former migration or economic policies, but this does not mean people should turn into authoritarian and far-right ideas. When a new leader is able to convince its population that democracy can still solve their problems, people are ready to go for him.

As most liberal politicians put it, the EU has its flaws, which should be solved; however its destruction would not be a remedy. People need reforms of the European integration, but not a return to national states, not authoritarian rulers with hate against other nations. Even how much populist leaders want to divide Europeans, they will not succeed until there are qualified believers in integrated Europe based on democracy and liberal values, who are ready to fight for this.