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European Union Politics and Policy


Admission requirements

Target group:

  • Regular students Bachelor Public Administration;

  • Exchange and Study Abroad students;

  • Participants in the minor 'Public administration: Multi-level governance' or the minor 'Openbaar Bestuur, Beleid en Management'.

There are specific working groups organised for minor and exchange students.


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 for finding new roles between the European Parliament, the European Commission and the Council of Ministers. External and internal economic instability and the inherent imbalance between the economies of the member states have destabilised the euro, the common currency shared by nineteen of the twenty seven member states and has put in several member states the question of an ‘exit’ on the table. Next to a financial and economic crisis, a health crisis, and a refugee crisis, a geopolitical crisis is unfolding at the borders of the EU, with tensions between the EU and Russia. More and more concerns are also raised on democratic backsliding in EU member states. In short, the EU is facing several crises 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 internationalisation of governance structures in the Netherlands. Exchange and minor students without any previous knowledge on the EU are advised to consult the additional reading list and inform themselves on the basics of the institutional set-up of the European Union.

Course objectives

  • Students are able to describe the functions of the main EU institutions, the interactions between EU institutions in EU level decision making processes, new challenges and current issues of governance in the EU, new challenges and current issues with policy fields on which the EU is active, the union’s presence in the world and geographical expansion.

  • Students are able to describe and apply the most important theoretical approaches for explaining European integration.

  • Students are able to hold a structured debate with their peers on current issues of European integration.


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

Mode of instruction

Lectures; working groups, self study. Attendance at working groups is compulsory for all students.

  • contact hours: 21 hours (7 weeks, 2 hrs per week lecture + 2 hours working group in second week. In week 3-7 students participate in debates of 1 hour).

  • examination: 5 hours

  • self-study hours: 114 hours (preparing for lectures, studying literature, preparing debates of working groups, preparation exam).

Students may not miss any of the working groups in which they have to debate for a grade, without a valid reason. If a student misses a working group in which the student should debate, without a valid reason, the student is excluded from further participation in the course.

Assessment method

Written examination with definition and essay questions based on the readings and the lectures (60% of the final grade);

Group debates in the working groups (40% of the final grade).

Both components do not need to be sufficient to pass the course. In other words, an insufficient partial grade can be compensated with a sufficient partial grade. The retake of the written examination has the same format as the first opportunity, i.e. a written examination with essay questions based on the readings and the lectures. The retake of the group debates consists of a group reflection report based on the debates students participated in.

IMPORTANT: Partial grades obtained during the 2021/2022 academic year are valid in the 2022/2023 academic year.

For further information about the University's exam rules please see: Rules and Regulations

Reading list

McCormick, J. (2020). European Union Politics. London: Red Globe Press.


Register for every course and workgroup via My Studymap or uSis. Course registration via My Studymap is possible from 12 July 13.00h. Registration for the workgroups starts on October 4th 13:00h. 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.

Students can enrol either as part of the Bestuurskunde bachelor track or as a minor from another programme after registration for the entire minor. You will receive the same course but make sure you enrol for the correct track so that your grades are registered properly. Students who take this course as part of a Minor or Exchange programme will be placed in and registered for the minor workgroup by the FGGA course administration.

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.


dr. R. de Ruiter,