Dr. Marko Lovec, member of Centre of International Relations (CIR), received an ITC Conference Grant to participate at the International Studies Association’s Annual Conference titled ‘Re-Visioning International Studies: Innovation and Progress’ (University of Ljubljana, Slovenia)

Dr. Marko Lovec, Research Fellow and Assistant Professor at University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Social Sciences, and a member of Centre of International Relations (CIR), received an ITC Conference Grant to participate at the International Studies Association’s Annual Conference titled ‘Re-Visioning International Studies: Innovation and Progress’, which took place in Toronto, Canada, between 27 and 30 March 2019. At the conference, Dr. Lovec chaired a panel co-organised by Central and East European International Studies Associations on small Central and East European (CEE) EU member states and presented a paper (co-authored by Dr. Ana Bojinović Fenko, Associate Professor) on populist foreign policy in those countries. While populism is not new to political science, it has recently received increased attention demonstrated by the number of panels dedicated to this issue, with CEE countries such as Hungary and Poland often serving as an extreme example of populist-illiberal regimes. In contrast to this, according to the literature, the International Relations (IR) discipline has so far failed to grasp the impact of populists on foreign policy due to the lack of attention to systemic factors within foreign policy analysis on the one hand and the lack of attention to party politics within IR and comparative politics on the other. The empirical research by the author of the presentation confirms this by showing that within foreign policy arena, populists are more affected and socialized by the international system than vice versa and that apart from rhetoric, populism tends to be reserved for particular identity issues such as migration. Nevertheless, this does not make populist foreign policy completely benign since it often leads to poor diplomacy and loss of credibility as well as weakening of a multilateral order, which is harmful for small states depending relatively more on normative and institutional resources.