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The European Union and the United Nations


Admission requirements

MSc International Relations and Diplomacy students.


This course familiarises students with the ways in which the European Union (EU) and the United Nations (UN) operate and interact with each other. It discusses how the EU acts within the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) and the United Nations Security Council (UNSC). Students also learn how the EU cooperates with individual UN agencies, including UNHCR and UNICEF. Based on a simulation game focused on the migrant crisis and a visit to EU institutions and UN representations in Brussels, students gain ‘hands-on’ experience as regards the ways in which these institutions operate and interact in practice.

Course objectives

The course aims to familiarise students with the ways in which a regional organisation (the EU) interacts with the UN as an international organisation. Students learn about the modes of operation of both the EU and the UN and the ways in which these organisations interact in structural ways, but also in daily practice. Based on a simulation game, the students learn about the challenges the EU faces to develop a common position and to defend it in front of the UN General Assembly. Students will also learn from active participation in a panel session in which a salient topic facing both the EU and the UN will be addressed.


On the right-hand side of the programme front page of the E-Prospectus you will find a link to the online timetables.
This course will also include a one-day simulation game and a three-day excursion to EU institutions and UN representations in Brussels.

Mode of instruction

The course will consist of short lectures, discussion, a simulation game, student panel discussions and a three-day excursion to Brussels (with visits to EU institutions and to the United Nations Regional Information Center, UNRIC).

Study load: 140 hours

Assessment method

Position paper for the simulation game (20%)
Participation in roundtable debate (30%)
Final paper (40%)
Class participation (10%)

Failed partial grades or components should be compensated by passed partial grades or components. The calculated grade must be at least 5,5 to pass the course. It is not possible to re-sit a partial grade or component once you have passed the course.

Partial grades will remain valid for one academic year.

Should a student fail the overall course, s/he can complete the course in the second year of the programme.

Reading list

For this seminar, we study recent literature on the EU and the UN, including some of its agencies (e.g., UNHCR, UNICEF). Core to the topics studied are recent UN and EU documents, recent manuscripts and journal articles.


The programme will register the students on Usis based on the group division. Use Brightspace for course information.


Prof. Dr. M.O. Hosli