Changing European Modes of (Economic) Governance: (How) Do European Party Foundations exert influence?


After the French and Dutch rejection of the European constitutional treaty in 2005 the European Commission started a number of initiatives designed to strengthen citizen participation in European affairs. One of the programs was the financing of European Party Foundations to strengthen the work of the European Political Parties, which currently consist mainly of the collection of the Members of European Parliament who join specific factions. The European foundations exist since 2008. Their work and the role of think tank networks linked to the Brussels based foundations has received limited attention by social scientists so far. The project uses the example of the neoliberal-conservative New Directions Foundation network, which features links to political party representatives and think tanks in nine countries and to additional think tanks in another eight countries. We ask how the new political combination is structured, which personal and institutional linkages exist both at the supranational and at the national level, and what the areas of concentration are in terms of policy matters. This project is exploratory in character; designed to develop and refine a set of hypotheses on the mechanisms of influence peddling and the relevance of European party foundations, which eventually need to be examined systematically in a larger comparative project on the role of European party foundations and think tank in the process of institutional change.

Main content

New Direction Foundation on


  • Frank Fischer, Rutgers University
  • Tor Halvorsen, University of Bergen
  • Karin Fischer, Johan Kepler Universität Linz
  • Jürgen Nordmann, Institut für die Gesamtanalyse der Wirtschaft Linz
  • Andrea D. Bührmann, Universität Göttingen
  • Phil Mirowski, University of Notre Dame