Working Group: Nationalism, populism and the economy – Oxford-22 Working Group

Understanding why liberalism has failed to secure its dominance is key to successfully wage the battles ahead. The liberal order based on the principles of individual freedom, inclusive governance, property rights and free exchange, globalization and multilateralism, has proven beneficial to many but not to all.

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Fide’s 2nd international congress at Jesus College Oxford will take place next April, on the 4th, 5th, and 6th.

The overarching topic of the congress is Nationalism, populism, and identities: contemporary challenges. In the global context, the growth of nationalism and populism is one of the greatest challenges facing not only Europe but also North and South America and the Asia Pacific. This can be a destructive force if it means that states retreat into an isolationist mindset and away from effective multilateral solutions to perceived cross-border problems.

The congress will analyse Nationalism and populism from a legal and economic perspective. We will cover aspects of the impact of nationalist/ populist policies on the funding of South American pension schemes where there have been unexpected calls on funds to deal with the effects of COVID-19

The Congress will also cover other cross-cutting issues, using free-standing panels on EU refugee externalisation policies, climate change issues (with specific reference to the outcome of the Conference of the Parties (COP) 26 in November 2021 in Glasgow), and misinformation and free speech in modern democratic societies.


The first two decades of the 21st century have demonstrated that predictions made after the collapse of the Soviet empire about the end of history and the uncontested triumph of liberal democracy were awfully wrong. Over the last few years, the liberal order has been constantly under threat. As we prepare for FIDE’s Oxford congress to be held in the spring, we are witnessing with horror and deep concern how a liberal democracy fights for its survival in the streets of Kyiv. Understanding why liberalism has failed to secure its dominance is key to successfully wage the battles ahead. The liberal order based on the principles of individual freedom, inclusive governance, property rights and free exchange, globalization and multilateralism, has proven beneficial to many but not to all. In many developed countries in the West and, specially, in many transition economies in Eastern Europe, the middle and working classes have not benefited from the growing prosperity resulting from global trade and technological innovation. In fact, they are, or at least they believe they are, made worse off by those developments, which force them to compete with low-salaried foreign workers and robots, and therefore cast a grim shadow over their families’ prospects. They have responded voting for populists and nationalists; supporting authoritarian parties and governments; confronting the liberal order, which they regard as the cause of their downfall. If the battle for freedom is to be won, we need to understand the views of those that are now against the liberal order and device policies that attract them. If we fail to do so, the world may fall back into the dark ages of the warlords.

Subgroup 1: Globalization and Populism

Nationalism and populism were an accident waiting to happen, but it is not too late to fix the policy fault lines which have given rise to unacceptable nationalism. This Chapter focuses on the impact of a major factor which crosses national boundaries, namely globalisation. Yet it is the impact at a sub- national level which creates citizens’ mistrust in a system which seems to have little relevance to their troubles, e.g. internal, local consequences like the closure of a factory, sometimes driven by the demands of sustainable development or the growth of digital technology. Thus, proposals for future change are developed in this Chapter in six main directions:

1. Expanding the scope of the policies: the framework of rules under which exchange of goods, labour, investment and know-how occur can be expanded to include fairness considerations, including individuals’ right to retain the right and liberty to remain rooted to their own traditions, religion, culture and, generally, ecosystem. Also, global policy should be more sensitive to local needs.

2. Exercising regulatory influence: global or European regulatory institutions can be formed to ensure that globalization is fair.

3. Ensuring fine-tuned governance of international institutions: empowering them to engage more with the new paradigm is a priority.

4. Engaging corporates and multinationals to working in such direction: this would foster policies at micro level.

5. Redistributing costs of globalization: active measures can be taken to ensure that the costs of globalization can be redistributed in a fairer way.

6. Education for all and promotion of a new attitude: this priority would facilitate reaching the five directions proposed above.


  • Jesús Almoguera, Lawyer at J. Almoguera Abogados. Specialised in arbitration, complex corporate and financial litigation and restructuring. Member of Fide’s Academic Council
  • Enrique Chamorro, Partner in the Department of M&A and Private Equity at DLA Piper. Collaborator with the DLA Piper Committee of Latin America
  • Lecturer and Researcher in International Law, Adjunct Professor, Case Western Reserve University School of Law, Cleveland, USA, International Consultant in International Economic Law [CJ1] 
  • Laurent Manderieux, Professor of Intellectual Property Law at L. Bocconi University of Milan, Italy. Member of Fide’s Academic Council(Leader of the SG)
  • Prof. Elisabetta Marafioti, Associate Professor of Business & Economics and Director of Research Center, Biccoca University, Milan Italy
  • Jorge Padilla, Senior Managing Director and Head of Compass Lexecon EMEA. Member of Fide’s International Academic Council. (Leader of the WG E and constructive friend of this SG)
  • Kadambari Prasad, Vice President at Compass Lexecon, based in London. She has eight years of experience in merger control, Article 101 and Article 102 and arbitration cases.
  • Juan Rivera, Senior Managing Director, Strategic Communications, FTI Consulting

Subgroup 2: The future of the EU project

This Subgroup will discuss the extent to which the European Union is equipped to provide, and is indeed providing, an appropriate response to the economic issues that have amounted to the rise of economic nationalism/populism. It will be argued that if the EU delivers satisfactory solutions in terms of growth, prosperity, and equality, economic populism will be kept at bay. A relationship will be acknowledged between the criticisms from economic populism and certain economic policies and performances from the EU in the current context. The situation of such stances will be analysed in turn, in order to identify any possible design or implementation flaws and propose workable solutions in the quest of an ever more prosperous, egalitarian EU.


  • Frédéric Jenny, Emeritus Professor, Economics Department, ESSEC Business School. Co-Director of the European Center for Law and Economics. Member of Fide’s International Academic Council.(Constructive friend of the WG E and of this subgroup)
  • Maria Pilar Canedo, Advisor of the Spanish National Commission of the Markets and of the Competition.
  • Sonsoles Centeno Huerta, Lawyer at Perez Llorca Abogados, and Former Head of the Legal Service before the Court of Justice of the European Union, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation, Spain.  
  • Amanda Cohen, Specialist senior judge by the General Council of the Judiciary in commercial matters. Advisor in the Ministry of Justice on commercial matters at national and international level. Member of Fide’s Academic Council
  • Juan Espinosa, Advisor to the Ministry of Finance and Civil Service of Spain(Leader of the subgroup)
  • Miguel de la Mano, Executive Vice President in Compass Lexecon’s Brussels office
  • Martín Martínez Navarro, Référendaire (law clerk) at the General Court of the European Union

Subgroup 3: Populism and Inequality

Economic inequality has increased in many western countries in the last few decades, though the timing and extent of the rise varies. Increasing inequality is linked to declining social mobility, as children born into poverty are more likely to remain in poverty in later life than their parents who were born in more equal societies. Rising inequality is one factor in the recent growth in support for populist political parties, who argue that there are simple solutions to economic problems – these are frequently attributed to external organisations or to disfavoured groups such as immigrants. The evidence to date suggests that populists in power tend to have some effect on inequality – right-wing populists raise inequality, left-wing populists lower it, but at the expense of reduced economic growth overall. We argue that there are alternative ‘non-populist’ ways of tackling increasing inequality, but that doing so effectively is likely to require a broad range of policies, rather than just changes to specific aspects of, for instance, taxes and benefits.


  • Hermenegildo Altozano, Partner in charge of the energy and natural resources practise in the Madrid office of Bird&Bird. Member of Fide’s Academic Council.
  • Charles Brendon, Academic economist based at Queens’ College and the Faculty of Economics, Cambridge 
  • Francisco de la Torre, Tax Inspector
  • Cecilia García-Peñalosa, Senior research fellow at GREQAM (Aix-Marseille University) and the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS)
  • Eva Gutiérrez, Lead Financial Economist in the Latin American and Caribbean Region of the World Bank 
  • Jorge Padilla, Senior Managing Director and Head of Compass Lexecon EMEA. Member of Fide’s International Academic Council. (Leader of the WG E and constructive friend of this SG)
  • Joe Perkins, Senior Vice President and Head of Research at Compass Lexecon based in London.(Leader of the SG)
  • Julio Veloso Caro, Partner Corporate Finance: M&A & Private Funds

* Important note: All members of the Working Groups and panels participate in an individual, non-institutional capacity, although we reflect each participant with their current position in the different working documents to better identify them.

Oxford Congress /22:

Nationalism, populism and identities: contemporary challenges

Oxford /22: Nationalism, populism and identities: contemporary challenges

Full info on our 2nd international congress at Oxford

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Oxford/22 Next Steps

In the next phase, the Working Groups and Panels continue to work to prepare and present their final conclusions and proposals papers, taking in all the feedback and work carried out during the discussion sessions in Oxford

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