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EU Policymaking and Implementation


Admission requirements



People have become more critical of European policy and often seem to prefer local policy solutions in response to globalisation problems. How do you experience EU policy? Does it help? And if not, how can we change this? In this course, we learn how EU policy is made, and how policy is transferred to member states and implemented by various authorities, including regional and local governments. In this course, we discuss the challenges of the European multi-level governance structure by focusing on the various actors that are involved, but also presenting important theoretical perspectives and analytical frameworks. We will discussion legislative decision-making in the context of the EU institutions, transposition of specific EU legislative measures by national governments, the actual implementation within member states, which may involve local or regional governments, and eventually the possibilities of feedback and change. Key examples of such EU policies are clean air, often implemented by local governments, residence rights and the posting of workers. We also focus on the main causes of policy failure or success when moving EU policy from Brussels to the national capitals and finally into the national political-administrative context of member states.

Course objectives

  • You will have an advanced understanding of the European multilevel policy process with an emphasis on the role of various political actors at the EU level and their links with national, regional or local governments, which play a role in the actual implementation of policy, including the theories and analytical frameworks that have been developed in this field.

  • You will have sufficient capacity to critically analyse policymaking and implementation in the European multilevel context;

  • You can apply important topics in multilevel governance and policymaking by analysing concrete cases of policymaking with an emphasis on implementation.


On the right side of programme front page of the E-guide you will find links to the website and timetables, uSis and Brightspace.

Mode of instruction

The course is based on blended learning: key topics are explained in brief knowledge clips online, including weekly quizzes. The online experience is supplemented with discussion and guidance in meetings with the lectures once per week (see the schedule). In case corona restrictions are again in force at the time of teaching, these meetings will be done virtually.

Assessment method

You are required:

  • to take actively part in the seminar meetings (except for virtual participants of the course who are not enrolled at Leiden University); and

  • to work on the various quizzes.

Your final grade is based on the following elements: (1) a grade for the quizzes within the context of the blended environment (this will be pass/fail), (2) oral exam, demonstrating understanding of and critical assessment of key arguments of the knowledge clips, readings and class discussions (100%).

Partial grades are only valid in the current academic year; partial grades will not remain valid after the exam and the resit of the course.

Reading list

TBA: see the course outline on Brightspace.


Registration in uSis is possible from four weeks before the start of the course. Due to the closure of the university on the 4th of October registration for the MPA electives of block 2 will open on the 5th of October on 13 hours.

From the academic year 2020-2021 Leiden University uses Brightspace as its online learning management system. After enrolment for the course in uSis you will be automatically enrolled in the Brightspace environment of this course.


Prof. dr. Bernard Steunenberg


This is a virtual exchange course.