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EU Decision Making


Admission requirements

The seminar is designed for students who already have a basic knowledge of the European Union. For this reason, the contents of Simon Hix’s The Political System of the European Union (Macmillan, 1999 or more recent edition) is assumed to be known to all participants. If a participant did not yet have an introduction to EU politics and policymaking, s/he is strongly recommended to read and study this text before the start of the seminar.

This is a specialization seminar for students from the IEG track. To ensure quality of teaching, we limit the number of students in it to 35. Students from another track (PM or GM) who would like to take this course an an elective, please note you need to ask the lecturer per e-mail. You may be asked to take another course if the seminar is full.


This seminar focuses on the EU and its relationship with member states in terms of politics and policy based on the insights of recent institutional approaches, particularly rational choice theory. In this way the seminar extends the insight and knowledge of Public Administration students on the functioning of the Union as an intense cooperation between member states as well as a new level of government in Europe.

The seminar is structured around three different topics:

-Institutional and constitutional issues in the EU, focusing on the recent institutional changes in the EU after the adoption of the Lisbon Treaty. This includes different examinations of institutional power and the balance between the main decision-making bodies such as the European Parliament, the Commission, the European Council, and the Council of Ministers as well as the role of the President of the European Council, the Commission President and the High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy;

-Policymaking in the European Union, which focuses on the interaction between the various actors at the level of the Union;

-Implementation of European policy by the member states, which deals with delegation of policy implementation to EU member states and the ways in which these member states further shape policy during transposition and implementation.

These topics will be discussed during the seminar meetings, in which the insights from research as well as an expert opinion are presented to further develop our understanding of the European Union.

Participants have two different assignments. First, they need to review one of the articles on the reading list in a critical but constructive way and present their views on the article in class. The brief presentation is followed by an Q+A session. Second, students need to write a short review of four pages maximum including references (including tables and figures is not recommended) on one of the articles. The course is concluded with an oral exam.

Learning objectives

Upon completion of this course, students should have attained:
-Advanced understanding of the European policy process with an emphasis on the role of the various political actors including links with national ministries and parliaments;
-Advanced understanding of various insights and theories on the functioning of the European policy arena, including its multi-level nature;
-Skills in identifying and analyzing scholarly work by using various sources and applying knowledge on different public administration theories, research methodologies and statistics;
-Advanced capacity to use argumentative and communication skills in oral and written presentation.



Methods of instruction

This course consists of lectures and a presentation. This course is compulsory.

Study load

  • total study load:140 hrs – contact hours: 21 hrs – self-study hours: 119 hrs

Method of assessment

The final grade is based on the following sub grades:
• grade for assignment 1 (presentation): 10%;
• grade for assignment 2 (written review): 20%;
• grade for the oral exam: 70%.
A student will not receive a grade if he or she misses one or more seminar meetings without prior consent, or misses one or more assignments. In addition:
• If a student is not able to hand in his/her assignments or research paper on time, he/she does not have the possibility of a repeat;
• Insufficient marks for the individual components are allowed;
• One repeat exists in case of an insufficient overall mark (a grade of 5 or lower). This will be an (extensive) oral exam based on the readings and the material discussed in class. The individual assignments—the presentation and the literature review—cannot be repeated.


Yes, in principal two weeks before the start of the course.

Other course materials/literature

In the course we use a list of articles that will be published two weeks before the start of the course on the Blackboard site.


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.


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