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EU Politics and Policy



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 and the Council of Ministers. External and internal economic instability and the inherent imbalance between the economies of the member states have destabilized the euro, the common currency shared by seventeen of the twenty seven member states. The EU is facing a crisis 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. Acquainting students with the core institutions and policies of the EU is the purpose of this course. The course builds on the first year course ‘Bestuurskunde I’ (Public Administration I) in which the European Union is introduced in the context of the internationalization of governance structures in the Netherlands. This course follows up with an overview of the European Union emerging as a new layer of governance in Europe in the last few decades.

Course objectives

This course aims to provide students with a solid foundation for understanding the structures and policies of the EU. When they have completed this course, students should have a good understanding of:

  • the most important theories and theoretical approaches widely used for explaining European integration;

  • institutions and decision making processes in the European Union;

  • key policies and the interactions of institutions

  • new challenges and current issues of governance in the EU

  • the Union’s presence in the world and geographical expansion.

After completing the course, students should also have acquired: *the ability to research the implementation of a piece of EU legislation, working in a team and acquiring new data on it through interviews and documentary sources *the ability to plan, execute and present the results of a joint research task in a team


  • Lecture: Monday 4/2 t/m 18/3 from 11-13 hrs in Gorl.02

  • Working groups:
    Gr 1: wednesday 13/2, 27/2, 13/3 from 13-15 hrs in 1A37
    Gr 2: wednesday 13/2, 27/2, 13/3 from 11-13 hrs in 1A37
    Gr 3: Monday 11/2, 25/2, 11/3 from 15-17 hrs, 11/2: 1A33, 25/2: 1A47 en 11/3 TBA
    Gr 4: Monday 11/2, 25/2, 11/3 from 15-17 hrs 11/2: 1A15 25/2: 1A24 and 11/3 TBA. No lecture on 11/2 this is 13/2 from 15-17 in 5A37

Gr 5: Friday 15/2, 01/3,15/3 from 13-16 hrs in 1A12
Gr 6: Friday 15/2, 01/3,15/3 from 13-16 hrs in 5A37 except for 15/3 from 13-15 hrs in 1A15

Gr 7: Friday 15/2, 01/3,15/3 from 13-16 hrs in 1A33 except for 15/3 in from 13-15 hrs in 1A11

  • Exam: Tuesday 26/3 from 13-16 hrs in USC

  • Re-exam: Monday 3/6 from 9-12 hrs in USC

Mode of instruction

The course consists of lectures and working groups. The working groups do not discuss the material of the lectures but are dedicated to a separate research task which students needs to complete as a team. In addition, the course includes a guest lecture by a speaker engaged with the EU in a professional capacity.

Assessment method

60% written exam
40% team paper

Course material is also obligatory for the exam and the paper, as far as it is set out in sheets, handouts and other information media.

Reading list/Literature

Michelle Cini and Nieves Perez Solorzano-Borragan 2010, European Union Politics, Oxford University Press. 3rd edition (if available, if not, students can use the second edition).


Instructor uses Blackboard. The page of the course is available from a week before the course starts



Contact information

  • Dr. Rik de Ruiter, coordinator of the course (

  • Dr. Antoaneta Dimitrova