Open Access Journal

ISSN: 2183-2463

Article | Open Access | Ahead of Print | Last Modified: 28 May 2024

Blackmailing and Identity Profiling? The Behaviour of Populist Radical Right Governments in EU Development Policy

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Abstract:  EU development policy has in recent years become more contested and politicised. One key factor driving this trend is the increasing influence of populist radical right parties (PRRPs). Previous studies have focused on PRRPs as opposition parties. This contribution breaks new ground by exploring the behaviour of PRRP-led governments in EU development policy. More specifically, the article analyses how and to what extent this behaviour is characterised by “unpolitics,” an approach to undermining EU policymaking. We define “cross-policy blackmailing” and “identity profiling” as two potential strategies of unpolitics in EU development policy and probe these in two case studies. The first case concerns the New European Consensus on Development and the second is the EU’s positioning in the negotiations and signing of the Samoa Agreement. In the first case, we find that PRRP-led governments fundamentally rejected the decision-making rules as well as the norms on migration, gender, and sexual and reproductive health rights, using a strategy of identity profiling. In the second case, PRRP-led governments significantly stalled the conclusion of the agreement by combining cross-policy blackmailing and identity profiling. Based on this analysis, we generalise on the scope conditions of unpolitics in EU development policy.

Keywords:  development policy; European Union; gender; migration; populism; populist radical right parties; unpolitics

Published:   Ahead of Print


© Julian Bergmann, Niels Keijzer, Christine Hackenesch. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (, which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.