EU politics: theories, institutions and challenges
Full course description
What is the European Union? This course takes an institutional perspective to this question, and equips students with a general understanding of the EU as a political system, its development since the Treaty of Maastricht, its institutional set-up and its working processes. Europe was the main point of debate in several courses in this first year of the BA ES, while EU Politics takes a narrow stance by focusing at the European Union. The factual knowledge gained in the first weeks of this course provides the necessary tool for informed reflections and critical debates taking place within the end of the course about current challenges that the EU integration process is facing today.
The main objective of this course is to gain a basic understanding of the European Union: its development, its institutional framework, its way of working and its current debates. First, this course introduces the European integration process since the late 1990s, outlining major changes from the Maastricht Treaty and subsequent treaty revisions to the Lisbon Treaty. Secondly, we investigate the institutions of the European Union, their tasks and the main decision-making mechanisms. Finally, current political challenges of the European integration project are put up for debate. Throughout the whole course, we also reflect on how specific theoretical approaches and concepts explain what we observe within the European Union. To sum up, by the end of this course, students will be able to: understand the evolution and basic features of the EU treaty framework, the core EU institutions and the EU decision-making processes; understand and apply the main theoretical perspectives used in the study of political system of the European Union; analyse and make reasoned judgements regarding the contemporary challenges that face the European Union; present effective and convincing oral arguments relating to EU institutions and politics; strengthen PBL skills by actively and constructively participating in tutorial discussions.
Nugent, N. (2017). The Government and Politics of the European Union. (8th ed.). Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan.