Summer School

The summer school is to be the cornerstone of ENLIGHTEN’s ‘Youth Programme’ as it aims to gather Early Stage Researchers (ESR – doctoral researchers from within the project’s research community and beyond) and Young


“EU Socio-economic Governance in the Crisis Aftermath”

(PhD, MA & Young Leaders)
on 19 – 23 September 2016

hosted by the European Trade Union Confederation at the International Auditorium Conference Center Boulevard du Roi Albert II, No. 5 / 2, 1210 Brussels, Belgium

Summer school programme


The 2016 ENLIGHTEN-GEM summer school on “EU Socio-economic Governance in the Crisis Aftermath” will examine the state, potential and limits of socioeconomic governance in Europe in the aftermath of the economic crisis.

The uniquely interdisciplinary approach characterizing the 2016 ENLIGHTEN-GEM summer school is to allow for the multidimensional methods required for any balanced analyses of the multifaceted crises currently facing the EU. Although centered on socio-economic governance in the crisis aftermath, the 2016 ENLIGHTEN-GEM summer school will unpacked some of the central legitimacy challenges facing the EU.

Discussions will explore the prospects of combining enhanced policy efficiency with democratic legitimacy by ways ranging from alternative institutional architectures to new policy initiatives in a set of far-flung yet interconnected policy fields such as growth, migration or security. Ultimately, this pluralist approach is to allow participants to better seize the too often ignored interactions and possible tensions between European socio-economic and political governance.

The crisis has both led to new governance arrangements and exacerbated existing challenges. The European socio-economic governance challenges the 2016 ENLIGHTEN-GEM summer school has chosen as starting point are obviously linked through structural changes in the European economies, the ongoing fiscal crisis, and real wages which remain under pressure relative to corporate profits.

Referenced challenges often involve the following noteworthy dimensions:

  • Financial fragility, which also threatens the solvability of pre-funded pension funds,
  • Fiscal strain, which also exerts further pressure on public services provision,
  • Widening inequality, equally in intergenerational terms.

In response, the aforementioned new governance arrangements include: either the European semester or its corollary Macroeconomic Imbalance Procedure; or the Banking Union and the currently under construction Capital Markets Union. The summer school is therefore built on the premise that there is significant value-added in offering Young Leaders and Early Stage Researchers an integrated perspective on these challenges. It will consequently welcome contributionsand expertise on these topics from diverse specializations and perspectives.

It is open, in short, to a broad range of participants, as long as there is clear relevance of the summer school for their academic or professional concerns. At the same time, it embraces a specific perspective on these issues. It appreciates the differential and potentially contradictory dynamics of fast-burning and slow-burning crises. Governance institutions that may be good at confronting one set of crises, may be decidedly worse at tackling the other. This differentiated perspective reveals potential tensions in European socio-economic governance that too often remain unacknowledged.


In the spirit of its above described scientific profile, the 2016 ENLIGHTEN-GEM summer school combines four aims:

  • Bringing into contact fledging academics and young leaders from the non-academic realms
  • Letting the participants learn from the expertise and insights of leading policymakers, stakeholders and academics
  • Allowing the PhD student participants to receive feedback on their work from other academic participants
  • Offering policy-oriented participants skills-focused training and, through a simulation game, active knowledge about issues central to the summer school themes.


  • Format

    The four working days will be each devoted to a specific research theme :

    • Social Dialogue in the Crisis Aftermath
    • Regaining Trust through Financial Sustainability
    • The welfare Union in question: healthcare and social housing ?
    • Youth, Employment and Demographic Change in Europe

    For the 15-20 selected participating PhD researchers, afternoons will be dedicated to PhD workshops academically coordinated by the Universiteit van Amsterdam (NL).

    Afternoons will be devided into: (1) lectures by lead academics and (2) presentations by PhD fellows. For the first hour, 2 attending academics will present recent research followed by a Q&A session. After the coffee break 3 selected PhD papers will collectively be discussed for 45min each.

    For the 20 selected participating MA students and Young Leaders, afternoons will be dedicated to a series of activities aimed at better understanding EU socio-economic policy in the crisis aftermath with a special focus put on social dialogue.

    Accordingly, MA students and Young leaders will be provided with a general introduction to social dialogue in practice (1 half-day), followed by a 2 half-day long negotiation simulation exercise. The 4th half-day will be dedicated to an open exchange on youth employment and intergenerational equity with local actors and beneficiaries.

    The weeklong summer school will also provide the opportunity for all its participants to gather for a joint excursion activity on wednesday September 21st (private exchange with Ms. Ruth Paserman, Cabinet of Marianne Thyssen, EU Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility, and a joint workshop on “Working in the bubble: the reality of EU NGOs in the field of finance and tax justice” by Finance Watch and Tax Justice Network).