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The European Union as an external power


Admission requirements

This course is designed for the minor Global Affairs. It is not possible to follow single courses of this minor. You need to be enrolled in Usis for the minor to be accepted to this course. There are 300 places open for registration, on a first come first serve basis, where LDE students are given priority.
This course is also open for inbound exchange students if they wish to take the entire minor Global Affairs; it is not possible to take single courses from this minor. Exchange students must be admitted by the FGGA International Office prior to the start of the minor; priority will be given to direct exchange partners of FGGA. For more information about the application procedure for exchange students, please contact the FGGA International Office at


This course will introduce students to the European Union as an external actor and describe the various ways in which the EU makes an impact in the international arena. The EU has been described in the past as inadequate and weak in foreign policy, partly due to the great expectations ascribed to it given its size and economic power. Arguably, the EU’s ‘capability-expectations’ gap is still a problem, but meanwhile the EU has developed different ways to make an impact beyond its borders: from enlargement governance – exporting rules and norms to enlargement candidates, to external governance - engaging in regulatory networks and association or trade agreements with third states. This course will familiarise students with these modes of governance and enable them to critically assess the EU’s impact in the world.

Course objectives

After successful completion of this course, students should:
*Demonstrate knowledge of the various ways in which the European Union interacts with third states and makes an impact
*Be familiar with various theories describing the EU’s role and impact
*Understand the different modes of governance that the EU has developed in addition to foreign policy making
*Critically assess the EU’s impact in the world by introducing various assessments from foreign policy and other perspectives.


On the right side of programme front page of the E-guide you will find links to the website and timetables, uSis and Brightspace.

Mode of instruction

7 lectures of 2 hours, complemented by online video materials where appropriate.

Total course load: 140 hours
Hours spent on:
7 lectures x2= 14

Preparation for each lecture: 2 readings, approximately 25 pages each, 7 hours before session, for 7 sessions: 49 hours
2 assignments with watching a video and writing a short response online: 32 hours
Writing the final paper, including research: 45 hours.

Assessment method

assignment 1: watch specified video, analyse and respond to a question with a comment online.

  • 25% of total grade

  • Resit not possible

  • Grade can be compensated

assignment 2: video, response and comment:

  • 25% of total grade

  • Resit not possible

  • Grade can be compensated

Final paper:

  • 50% of total grade

  • Grade must be 5.50 or higher to pass the course

  • Resit possible

  • Resit will take the same form

Reading list

Articles and papers available via the University electronic journals library or open access.


Registration in uSis is possible from four weeks before the start of the course.
Leiden University uses Brightspace as its online learning management system. Important information about the course is posted here.
After enrollment for the course in uSis you are also enrolled in the Brightspace environment of this course.


Prof. Antoaneta Dimitrova