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Economic Policy in the European Union



Ec, PS

Admission Requirements

Similarly tagged 200-level and 300-level courses. Students that do not meet this prerequisite should contact the instructor regarding the required competencies before course allocation.


The European Union has achieved deep integration of the economies of its member states. Its ambition is to continue this integration. Understanding both its achievements and its ambitions are the main purpose of this course. We will discuss the development and the landmarks of this integration process building on the economic analysis of international economics and economic policies. The focus will be on the so-called four freedoms that were expressed in the Treaty of Rome, which created the EU, i.e. freedom of flow of goods, of services, of capital and of persons.

Course Objectives

At the end of this course, the student will have a better understanding of the economic policies of the European Union and of the interaction with national policies. He or she will be able to link legal and political developments in the European Union to economic developments and will be able to present the relevant discussions.

At the end of this course, the student:

  • understands the important current issues in the field of International Economics

  • has a command of the core elements in this field of expertise;

  • is able to collect, interpret and process information in the field of International Economics

Mode of Instruction

Each week consists of two seminars:
During the first seminar, the main issues in the required reading will be identified and discussed. Based on an interactive setting, the focus will be on understanding the concepts and theories in international economics.

In the second seminar, students will apply their knowledge. Each week the homework consists of preparing study problems. In class the students will discuss the solutions for the problems. Applying the concepts and theories, and explaining this to each other increases the knowledge and understanding of economics. Furthermore, it also provides a good preparation for the final exam.


The assessment of this course is based on three elements:

  1. Unweighted average of scores on class assignments and class participation. (A failure to submit before the deadline will result in a zero score.) (30 %)
  2. Unweighted average of scores on two research essays (30 %). (A failure to submit before the deadline will result in a zero score.)
  3. Written exam (in class) (40 %)

Students are on a weekly basis expected to prepare the reading material and the study questions. Based on these preparation, students are able and expected to participate in class, i.e. to discuss the concepts, theories and the solutions for the study problems. The presentations have to be submitted on paper as well

In week 4 and week 7 students will have to write an essay that captures the topics of the previous weeks. The guideline for this essay will be a question posed by the lecturer.

In class exam

With respect to attendance we accept 2 absences (provided that the due work is submitted) without additional work. In week 7 you cannot miss seminars in which you have to present your draft research paper.

With 3 absences, the student is required to write an additional paper of 1,000 words, to be submitted before Thursday, 28 March, 4 PM). In this paper you need to evaluate the decision to create a banking union in the Euro zone, more in particular how the creation of the banking union will affect the economic policy discretion in 2 Eurozone countries (select a southern and a northern country).

With 4 absences or more, students will be assumed not to take part in this course.


1) Compulsory Literature
Susan, The European Union. Economics, Policies and History, 3rd edition (McGrawHill, 2012
Additional material made available through Blackboard

2) Recommended Literature & Other Sources (e.g. websites, Academic Journals, documentaries etc.)
Websites EU, VOXEU website, CEPR website
Journal of Common Market Studies
Journal of European Integration

Contact Information

Email Convenor: j.f.dekort@law.leidenuniv.nl
Email Instructor: o.p.van.vliet@law.leidenuniv.nl

Weekly Overview

Week 1: History of European Integration, decision making procedures, and institutions;
Week 2: Towards a Customs Union
Week 3: From a Customs Union to an Internal Market
Week 4: Monetary Cooperation
Week 5: Towards a European Monetary Union
Week 6: EU Social Policy
Week 7: The Lisbon Challenges

Preparation for first session