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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 between the European Parliament, European Commission 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 nineteen 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. The course builds on the first year course ‘Openbaar bestuur en bestuurswetenschap’ (Public Administration I) in which the European Union is introduced in the context of the internationalization of governance structures in the Netherlands.
EU politics and Policy provides an overview of the European Union emerging as a new layer of governance in Europe in the last few decades, with a focus on the interaction between EU institutions and member states on specific policy fields.

Course objectives

This course aims to provide students with a solid foundation for understanding the structures and policies of the EU by focusing on the following themes:

  • Discuss the most important theoretical approaches for explaining European integration

  • Differentiate institutions and decision making processes in the European Union

  • Discuss new challenges and current issues of governance in the EU

  • Discuss new challenges and current issues with policy fields on which the EU is active

  • Differentiate between the ways the European Union is present in the world



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

Mode of instruction

Lectures; seminars (group presentations + debates (for seminars attendance is compulsory); self study

Course Load

Total study load: 140 hours – contact hours: 28 hours (7 weeks, 2 hrs per week lecture + 2 hrs per week seminar) – self-study hours: 112 hours (preparing for lectures/seminars, studying literature, preparing group presentations and debates, final group paper, exam)

Assessment method

Written examination with essay 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 sufficient 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.

You can find more information about assessments and the timetable exams on the website.
Details for submitting papers (deadlines) are posted on Blackboard.
On the Public Administration front page of the E-guide you will find links to the website, uSis and Blackboard.

Students will be permitted to resit an examination if they have taken the first sit and earned a mark between 3 and 5.5 or with permission of the Board of Examiners.

Resit written exam
Students that want to take part in a resit for a written exam, are required to register via uSis. Use the activity number that can be found on the ‘timetable exams’.


Yes. The page of the course is available from a week before the course starts. Blackboard is used as the main communication channel with students.

Reading list

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


Use both uSis and Blackboard to register for every course.
Register for every course and workgroup via uSis. Some courses and workgroups have a limited number of participants, so register on time (before the course starts). In uSis you can access your personal schedule and view your results. Registration in uSis is possible from four weeks before the start of the course.
Also register for every course in Blackboard. Important information about the course is posted here.


Dr. Rik de Ruiter


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.

Sufficient partial grades (for the group paper or the exam) are valid for 1 year. For example: if a student has an insufficient grade for the exam in the previous academic year and a sufficient grade for the group paper in the previous academic year, this student only needs to retake the exam in the subsequent year to pass the course. In this example attendance in the working groups for this student is not required.