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Multi-level Governance



[BSc] WP, ID, PSc

Admission Requirements

Similarly tagged 200-level and 300-level courses. Students that do not meet this prerequisite should contact the instructor regarding the required competencies before course allocation.


In this course, we explore the state of European politics and administration in a context where the nation-state is being partially hollowed-out, and authority is increasingly being reallocated upward to supranational institutions, downward to regional and local bodies and sideways to private and societal organizations. The purpose of this course is to shed light on the phenomenon’s meaning, origin, organization, actual practicing, power relationships, and policy implications. After a theoretical introduction the course delves into the historical context, explanations for European integration, the EU’s institutional framework, policies, implication for actors and institutions at the national and subnational elvel, and topical issues and debates. The classes will consist of interactive lectures and seminars, and work visits to relevant institutions (including Parliament, the British Embassy, the Province of Zuid Holland).

Course Objectives

  • To provide students with knowledge of the most important theoretical, empirical and normative debates on multi-level governance and European integration

  • To familiarize students with topical research in the field of MLG, which brings together political science, public administration, EU-studies and international relations.

  • To enhance students’ critical understanding of the potential and limits of various recent governance approaches.

  • To stimulate active class participation

  • To enhance students academic presenting and writing skills.

On completion of the course, students should be able to:

  • Discuss the key characteristics, strengths and weaknesses of the MLG approach

  • How a thorough understanding of the nature, development, and functioning of the European Union.

  • Apply theoretical concepts to concrete instances of politics and administration at different levels of government and between levels of government

  • Follow and understand debates on institutional, policy, democratic and legitimacy challenges in contemporary governance.

  • Build, present and defend well-grounded arguments on the nature, strengths and pitfalls of multi-level governance in different regions of the world.

Mode of Instruction

The course will be taught through interactive lectures and seminars, and on-site guest lectures by academics and practitioners. Taken together, this course’s teaching methods are interactive, deal with real life situations and challenge students to deliver the best work possible.

Students will do the large majority of the work individually. Seminars are explicitly meant to collective assess and weigh viewpoints and arguments. All assessment will be based on individual performance.


To be confirmed in course syllabus:

In-class participation: 10%
Mid-term exam: 25%
Outline for the essay (1 page): 10%
Essay (2500 words): 20%
Final exam: 35%


Students are advised to purchase the following book:

Cini, M. and Nieves Perez-Solorzano Borrogan (eds.) (2013) European Union Politics. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 4th edition.

Other sources included in the required reading can either be accessed online or found in the University Library.

Contact Information

Weekly Overview

  • WEEK 1 Session 1 Introduction and Course Overview

  • WEEK 1 Session 2 Multi-Level Governance: An approach and a reality

  • WEEK 2 Session 1 The Historical Context of MLG in Europe

  • WEEK 2 Session 2 Classical Approaches to European Integration

  • WEEK 3 Session 1 The European Commission, the Council and the Courts

  • WEEK 3 Session 2 The European Parliament and Interest Groups

  • WEEK 4 Session 1 The EU’s Policies and Policy Making

  • WEEK 4 Session 2 Midterm exam on all materials discussed in weeks 1, 2, 3, and 4

  • WEEK 5 Session 1 Europeanization

  • WEEK 5 Session 2 National Parliaments in the EU’s system of Multi-level Governance

  • WEEK 6 Session 1 Britain as a national state in a system of multi-level governance

  • WEEK 6 Session 2 Subnational Government in a system of Multi-level Governance

  • WEEK 7 Session 1 Interest Groups in a System of Multi-level Governance

  • WEEk 7 Session 2 Issues and Debates

  • WEEK 8 Session 1 Final exam

Preparation for first session