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Economics of the EU


Admission requirements

Admission to the MA International Relations, track European Union Studies. Or the European Politics and Society Joint Master Programme


The process of European Integration has arguably been most successful in the economic domain. The member states have already succeeded in creating a customs union and are working hard to achieve an internal market for goods, services, labour and capital. Gradually, the appeal of an economically integrated Europe widened the EU to 28 member states, from its original 6 in 1957. In this course, we will analyse the benefits of economic integration as well as the conditions that need to be fulfilled and the steps that need to be taken to achieve a well-functioning internal market.

The course concentrates on the following aspects of the economics of the EU:

  • The theory of economic integration: the main rationale behind economic integration; ways of integration; trade diversion versus trade creation; economies of scale; allocation of resources; competition and free trade; and the relation between the World Trade Organisation and regional trade associations.

  • The single market: historical development; the principles of a single and free market in Europe, the four freedoms (free movement of goods, services, capital and persons); and the benefits of the single market.

  • Monetary integration: theory and practice of monetary integration; Optimal Currency Areas; the Economic and Monetary Union; the European Central Bank; the Stability and Growth Pact, the Sixpack; the Macro-Economic Imbalances Procedure, and the Banking Union.

  • Budgetary and Fiscal Policy: the case for a common fiscal policy in Europe; the impact of taxation on international trade; tax harmonization; budgetary policies in the member states; the EU budget.

  • Competition, industrial and regional policies: the rationale for EU industrial and competition policies; control and harmonisation of state aids; restructuring of declining industries; promoting competitiveness; support of research and technological development in advanced industries.

  • The rationale for EU regional policies: integration and regional disparities; structural funds for the support of regions lagging behind in development; the criteria for regional support; the relation between EU and national policies; framework programmes.

  • Trade policy: the Common Commercial Policy (CCP). The relation between EU trade policy and WTO rules; trade agreements and relations with major trading partners; (potential) trade conflicts with other nations.

  • The Europe 2020 Strategy: general economic developments in Europe; the Open Method of Coordination (OMC); the European Employment Strategy (EES).

  • Other policies: the Common Agricultural Policy; the common transport policy; energy and environmental policies; social policy

Course objectives

The course will enable students to understand the main principles of micro and macro-economics and their relevance for the process of European economic integration. It also aims to provide students with an understanding of the current economic challenges facing the European Union.


The timetable is available on the website.

Mode of instruction

Lectures and individual assignments.

Course Load

  • Hours spent on attending lectures and seminars: 6 weeks of 4 hours per week followed by 7 weeks of 2 hours per week: 38 hours

  • Time for studying the compulsory literature: 102 hours.

Assessment methods

  • Final exam with open questions = 70% of the final grade

  • Final paper and class participation= 30% of the final grade


The final mark for the course is established by determining the weighted average.


In order to pass the course, both the exam and the paper have to be passed. Compensation of a failed element (either the exam or the paper) is not possible.

Exam review

How and when an exam review will take place will be disclosed together with the publication of the exam results at the latest. If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will have to be organized.

Reading list

  • Richard Baldwin and Charles Wyplosz, The Economics of European Integration, McGraw Hill, 2015, 5th edition.


Via uSis.

Contact Information

Dr. D.M Oude Nijhuis