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Institutions of the European Union


Admission requirements

Registration for the Minor European Union Studies or admission to the pre-master European Union Studies.


What is the European Union (EU) and how does it function? Who decides on the policies of the EU, who has the budgetary power, who makes EU legislation, and who ensures that EU law is observed? This and other questions will be addressed in an accessible and practical manner.

The purpose of this course is to lay the foundations for a better understanding of the EU and how it functions. To this end we will look at the principal institutions of the EU, their composition, powers, tasks, and the way they work together. Based on this, we will evaluate how well the EU is on track to achieve its collective mission to create “an ever closer union among the peoples of Europe, in which decisions are taken as openly as possible and as closely as possible to the citizen”.

Course objectives

Upon successful completion of the course, participants can

  • identify the institutions and bodies of the European Union

  • describe their composition, their tasks and their interactions

  • explain the rationale behind their existence and mode of operation

  • assess their performance and discuss options for reform

  • describe modes of interest representation in the European Union

  • describe electoral politics in elections to the European Parliament and the nomination of the European Commission

  • assess the democratic quality of politics in the European Union


The timetables are available through My Timetable.

Mode of instruction


Assessment method


The achievement of the learning objectives will be assessed through two written examinations:

  • a midterm exam: a written examination with closed and/or short open questions, focusing on the content of the first block of the semester

  • a final exam: a written examination with closed and/or short open questions, focusing on the second block.


The final mark for the course is established by determining the weighted average of the two examinations:

  • midterm exam: 40%

  • final exam: 60%
    To pass the course, the weighted average of the partial grades must be 5.5 or higher.


Any course participant who did not pass the course is eligible for a resit.

The resit is a written examination with closed and/or short open questions, focusing on the whole course content.

Inspection and feedback

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 organised.

Reading list

A syllabus will be provided before the start of the course. Reading will largely be based on EU textbooks that may require a purchase or electronic loan for about 40€.


Enrolment through MyStudyMap is mandatory.
General information about course and exam enrolment is available on the website


  • For substantive questions, contact the lecturer listed in the right information bar.

  • For questions about enrolment, admission, etc, contact the Education Administration Office: Huizinga


Not applicable.