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Inside the EU - Governance and Accountability



Inside the EU – Governance and Accountability
In recent years there has been a considerable effort at the national level to confront a crisis of legitimacy by promising more accountability and openness. But how does accountability relate to systems of governance at the transnational, the international and the supranational level? This research-oriented seminar takes as its central focus the role of accountability in democratic governance, and attempts to position a broad understanding of the notion of accountability within the overall context of the evolving political-administrative system of governance in Europe and in particular of the European Union. Surveying and discussing the work by some of the leading scholars in the field, we will address the relationship between accountability and a wide range of other themes in European governance such as problems of representation, transparency, bureaucracy, and transnational relations. The seminar also deals with the role of accountability in multi-level governance, and its relationship to both network governance and civil society.
The seminar discussions serve as a starting point for the students to carry out their own research. Under the supervision of the instructor, each student undertakes independent research on one of the issues raised, presents the work for discussion in the seminar and completes a draft article by the end of the course.

By the end of the course, students will be able to:
1. Identify current accountability issues, how they are addressed and their practical implications for EU governance.
2. Summarize, evaluate and criticize academic research on EU governance and accountability.
3. Contrast and combine theoretical perspectives in the analysis of accountability.
4. Design and carry out research in which selected theories are applied to EU cases.
5. Translate research findings into a policy advise.

Method of instruction

The course is organized as a research seminar with close interaction between the instructor and the students. Instead of traditional lectures, the instructor will guide a discussion about the substantive and theoretical issues raised in the readings and in the students’ own research. Active participation is therefore essential. In the first part of the course, we will discuss existing theoretical and empirical literature in the field. For each seminar, students must submit a brief memo (1-2 pages) with reflections, thoughts and questions about the week’s readings. In the second part of the course, students present their own research in progress for discussion in the group.

Assessment method

  • The memos prepared for each week’s seminar (total 40% of final grade).
    • The draft article produced by the end of the course (60% of final grade).


    See Preliminary Info.