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European Union Politics and Policy



The European Union is facing unprecedented challenges. Instead of the anticipated calm after the ratification of the Treaty of Lisbon, the EU is faced with a lack of solidarity between North and South and an institutional struggle for finding new roles between the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers. External and internal economic instability and the inherent imbalance between the economies of the member states have destabilized the euro, the common currency shared by seventeen of the twenty eight member states. The EU is facing a crisis to which it can either respond or, according to some commentators, slide into disintegration and economic stagnation.

It is especially important in such times to understand how the EU works and how the interaction between member states and institutions produces policy outcomes that affect every single citizen of the Union. Acquainting students with the core institutions and policies of the EU is the purpose of this course. The course builds on the first year course ‘Bestuurskunde I’ (Public Administration I) in which the European Union is introduced in the context of the internationalization of governance structures in the Netherlands. This course follows up with an overview of the European Union emerging as a new layer of governance in Europe in the last few decades.

Learning objectives

This course aims to provide students with a solid foundation for understanding the structures and policies of the EU. When they have completed this course (lectures), students should have a good understanding of and interpret: – The most important theories widely used for explaining European integration – Institutions and decision making process in the European Union – Key policies and the interactions of institutions on policy fields – the new challenges and current issues of governance in the EU and be able to give examples – The Union’s presence in the world and geographical expansion

After completing the working groups, students should also have acquired: – The ability to research the implementation of a piece of EU legislation – Working in a team: ability to plan, execute and present the results of a joint research task in a team – Using a variety of research methods, among which semi-structured interviewing and documentary sources


Timetable -> Rooster Bachelor

Exam timetable -> Tentamenrooster Bestuurskunde / Timetable Exams

Methods of instruction This course consists of lectures, tutorials, self study and a presentation.

Study load

  • total study load: 140 hours – contact hours: 28 hours (7 weeks, 2 hrs per week lecture + 2 hrs per week tutorial) – self-study hours: 112 hours (preparing for lectures/tutorials, studying literature, preparing presentations, final group paper, exam)

Method of assessment

Written examination with open-ended questions based on the readings and the lectures, 60% of the final grade; Group paper, 40% of the final grade.
Both components need to be a 6.0 to pass the course. A re-take is possible for both components. The group paper can be resubmitted. There is a re-take for the written exam.


Yes. The page of the course is available from a week before the course starts

Other course materials/literature

Cini, M. and Solorzano-Borragan, N.P. (2013) European Union Politics. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 4th edition.


Registration for every course and exam in USIS is mandatory. For courses, registration is possible from four weeks up to three days before the start of the course.
For exams, registration is possible from four weeks up to ten days before the date of the examination.


Dr. Rik de Ruiter,


The minor and exchange students do not participate in the working groups but need to complete an additional question in the written examination to compensate for the working groups. This additional question is posed in an essay format.