This chapter develops a theoretical perspective on the relationship between crisis, time and budgetary policy. It starts with the premise that a crisis comes into existence through contingent practices of meaning-making which feature a specific temporal logic. To grasp this temporality, the chapter builds on autopoietic systems theory which allows for conceptualising time as both a technique and a product of communicative operations. This perspective is then applied to reconstruct how the temporal ambiguities of crisis governance are dealt with in the EU's Multiannual Financial Framework for 2021 to 2027. The analysis identifies three (interrelated) rationales – recovery, resilience and prevention – and reveals how they render 'the crisis' governable by temporalizing complexity in specific ways.
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