Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (AISSR)

European Legitimacy in Governing through Hard Times:the role of European Networks (ENLIGHTEN)

9 January 2015

AISSR researchers participate in this interdisciplinary ‘next generation’ research team that integrates insights from Comparative Political Economy, European Studies, International Political Economy, and Sociology. The project will focus on how European modes of governance respond to ‘fast-burning’ and ‘slow-burning’ crises.

ENLIGHTEN responds to the call, issued by the European Commission, on 'The future of European integration - 'More Europe – less Europe?' and is funded in Horizon 2020 scheme of the European Commission.

‘Fast-burning’ and ‘slow-burning’ crises

These types of crises differ in how they affect the legitimacy of European input, output, and throughput processes in established and emergent modes of governance.

Both fast- and slow-burning crises must be addressed by European modes of governance, with serious implications for the legitimacy and efficiency of the European project. Both raise political, social, and economic sensitivities that are transforming democratic politics in Europe. ENLIGHTEN addresses these themes through a series of linked cases that speak directly to the legitimacy and efficiency of European modes of governance. 

Fast-burning crises

In fast-burning crises interests are quickly formed and ideational and resource battles ensue over how to coordinate policy ideas, what institutions should be engaged, and communicating these changes to the public. Networks in fast crises are composed of defined groups seeking to protect or carve out their interests.

Slow-burning crises

In slow-burning crises interests are less obvious and the key task is often how to define the issues involved and who should address the problem. Here networks are commonly composed of experts who battle over how issues should be defined, as well as the boundaries on how coordinative and communicative discourses are articulated.


  1. Copenhagen Business School (coordinator)
  2. University of Amsterdam/AISSR  (Daniel Mügge en Brian Burgoon)
  3. Universite Libre de Bruxelles
  4. Kozep-Europai Egyetem (Hungary)
  5. Tax Justice Network Limited (UK)
  6. Confederation Européenne des Syndicats 
  7. Finance Watch (Belgium)
  8. Comite Europeen de Coordination de l'Habitat Social