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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 discuss 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 Studyguide 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 lecturer once per week.

Assessment method

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) an oral exam, demonstrating understanding of and critical assessment of key arguments of the knowledge clips, the readings and class discussions (100%). Next to a pass for the quizzes, the grade for the oral exam must be a 5.5 or higher to pass the course. On request, and before the start of the oral exam, the student may use the final grade based on the quizzes (the average of 4 best results out of 5 possible results; the student is allowed to miss one quiz) for calculating the final grade: in that case, the final grade is 25% based on the grade for the quizzes and 75% on the oral exam

Retake weekly knowledge quizzes: You will be permitted to retake the weekly knowledge quizzes if you have an average grade lower than 5.5. or missed two or more weekly quizzes. The retake of all weekly quizzes will be one quiz on all the discussed materials.
Resit exam: You have a second possibility to take the oral examination.
Partial grades will not remain valid after the exam and the resit of the course.

Reading list

See the Brightspace page of this course.


Register yourself via MyStudymap for each course, workgroup and exam (not all courses have workgroups and/or exams). Do so on time, before the start of the course; some courses and workgroups have limited spaces. You can view your personal schedule in MyTimetable after logging in.
Registration for this elective is possible via MyStudymap from t.b.a.
Leiden University uses Brightspace as its online learning management system. After enrolment for the course in MyStudymap you will be automatically enrolled in the Brightspace environment of this course.

After registration for an exam you still need to confirm your attendance via MyStudymap. If you do not confirm, you will ultimately be de-registered and you will not be allowed to take the exam.
More information on registration via MyStudymap can be found on this page.

Please note: guest-/contract-/exchange students do not register via MyStudymap but via uSis. Guest-/contract-/exchange students also do not have to confirm their participation for exams via MyStudymap.


Prof.dr. B. Steunenberg