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EU Decision Making


Admission requirements

Only available for students of Public Administration


This seminar focuses on the EU and its relationship with member states in terms of politics and policy based on the insights of recent institutional approaches, particularly rational choice theory. In this way the seminar extents the insight and knowledge of Public Administration students on the functioning of the Union.
The seminar is structured around three different topics: institutional issues, policy making in the European Union and implementation of European policy.

  1. Institutional and constitutional issues in the EU focusing on the recent institutional changes in the EU after the adoption of the Lisbon Treaty. This includes different examinations of institutional power and the balance between decision making bodies such as the European Parliament, the Commission and the Council of Minister as well as the role of the President of the European Council, the Commission President and the High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy;
  2. Policymaking in the European Union, which focuses on the interaction between the various actors at the level of the Union in making of policy; and
  3. Implementation of European policy by the member states, which deals with delegation of policy implementation to EU member states and the ways in which these member states further shape policy during transposition and implementation.

Course objectives

Upon completion of this course, students should have attained:

  • Advanced understanding of the European policy process;

  • Advanced understanding of functioning of the European policy arena;

  • Skills in identifying and analyzing scholarly work, research methodologies and statistics;

  • Advanced capacity to use argumentative and communication skills in oral and written presentation.


The (provisional) timetable is on the first page of the e-Prospectus.

Mode of instruction

During the seminar the main topics will be discussed from several perspectives, that is, how certain processes take place in the EU, how we can understand these processes, and whether this understanding fits to insights presented in the current literature.
The course will be taught by Professor Steunenberg together with Drs. Th.J.A.M. (Tom) de Bruijn who was the Permanent Representative of the Netherlands in Brussels in the period 2003-2011. Previously he was, among others, Director-General for European Cooperation in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Assessment method

Students are required to write a short review paper on the readings for one of the classes, do an individual (and short) presentation and take an (oral) exam based on the reading list.
The final grade is based on the following sub grades: review (20%), individual presentation (10%) and oral exam (70%). The sub grades for the review and/or the presentation can be compensated with the sub grade for the oral exam. The sub grade for the oral exam needs to be 6 or higher.


Instructor uses Blackboard. This page is available from two weeks before the course starts.

Reading list

The reading list for the course will be posted on Blackboard



Contact information

Prof. dr. Bernard Steunenberg

Consultation hour:
Blok 2 7/11 13.30-14.30h and 28/11 15.00-16.00h

Remarks/ preparation for the first session

Before the start of the class, students need to start preparing the first assignment as soon as possible. This means that enrollment as soon as the Blackboard site of the course is opened is essential. At the site further instructions will be given on the blackboard site.