European Legitimacy in Governing through Hard Times: The Role of European Networks

Leonard Seabrooke

ENLIGHTEN: European Legitimacy in Governing through Hard Times: The Role of European Networks

ENLIGHTEN is a collaborative research project coordinated at the Copenhagen Business School (CBS) and brings together researchers from CBS as well as the University of Amsterdam, the Central European University and Université Libre de Bruxelles, as well as non-academic partners in Tax Justice Network, European Trade Union Confederation, Finance Watch and Housing Europe. The Chief Scientist of the ENLIGHTEN project is Professor Leonard Seabrooke, Department of Business and Politics, CBS. ENLIGHTEN is the first European Commission Horizon 2020 grant to be based at CBS. The Commission has granted €2,48 million equal to DKK18,2 million.

ENLIGHTEN addresses the ways in which the EU’s modes of governance cope with hard times on short-term and long-term issues. To do so it investigates the European governance architecture, which includes: modes of governance; expert networks; policy instruments; and legitimizing narratives. The ENLIGHTEN project suggests that an understanding of temporal issues is crucial to dealing with hard times, and for the legitimacy of the European project overall. It distinguishes between Europe's ‘fast-burning’ and ‘slow-burning’ crises, setting out to compare the ways in which EU policy actors have attempted to deal with them. The project maps how European institutions and expert networks handle these crises, and what European modes of governance relate are best suited to addressing these crises.

ENLIGHTEN applies this approach to the study of a range of policy fields that are widely accepted as being critical to both the sustainability of Europe’s continent-wide coordinated governance architecture and the responsiveness of Europe’s democratic polity. The three policy fields specifically addressed are: (1) Banking Crisis and Fiscal Sustainability; (2) Deficit Reduction and Continuity of Public Services; and (3) Youth Employment and Inclusive Growth.

ENLIGHTEN employs a combination of methods to investigate the above, including content analysis of policy documents, network analysis on professional networks, and sequence analysis on professional careers, as well as personal interviews. The project uses these innovative methods, developed at DBP and CBS over the past years,. Overall ENLIGHTEN will map, differentiate, and articulate how policymakers and experts operate in their networks in fast- and slow-burning crises, and what modes of governance are best for maintaining European legitimacy in governing through hard times.

Link to the ENLIGHTEN website

Sidst opdateret: Department of Business and Politics // 11/12/2015