nl en

The European Union Today


Admission requirements

At least BSA (40 EC).


This course has two main aims. The first is to introduce students to the discussion of policy and writing of policy critiques and recommendations on issues of current EU interest. The second aim is to provide students with a thorough understanding of the main challenges currently facing the European Union. These challenges relate, among others, to the areas of institutional reform, enlargement, economic crisis, the rise of nationalism, effects of Brexit etc.

The course consists of three parts. The first part of the course deals with policy-making processes. In the second part of the course, students will discuss the main challenges currently facing the European Union and decide on their particular policy interest with a view to writing initial sections of their policy brief. The final part consists of smaller group workshops that break down the tasks involved in the writing of policy briefs, giving students the opportunity to debate challenges and current policy as well as the actual writing of policy briefs, including recommendations.

Course objectives

  • To introduce students to the EU’s policy-making processes.;

  • To identify contemporary challenges facing the EU and acquire knowledge of how policy is formulated in order to respond to them.;

  • To develop students’ knowledge and understanding of the political landscape in Europe and the opportunities and constraints faced by European Union policy-makers.;

  • To critique policy and develop policy recommendations rooted in a cost-benefit analysis.;

  • To develop students’ skills base in respect of: research; critical writing; critical argumentation.


See Timetable.

Mode of instruction

Lectures, seminars, group and individual research, group presentations.

Course load

Total course load for the course is 5 ec x 28 hours = 140 hours.
Course participation (2 hours per week x 13 weeks = 26 hours)

  • Time for studying the compulsory literature and preparation for lectures/seminars (4 x 13 hours = 52 hours);

  • Researching and writing policy paper portfolio (20 hours);

  • Researching and writing policy paper draft (12 hours);

  • Researching and writing policy paper (30 hours).

Assessment method


  • Active class participation;

  • Policy paper portfolio (1,500 words);

  • Policy paper draft (1,000 words);

  • Policy paper (1,500 words).


  • General class participation (20%);

  • Policy paper portfolio (30%);

  • Policy paper draft (0%);

  • Policy paper (50%).


Policy paper: Revise and resubmit policy paper as a single document

Exam Review

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 organized.


Blackboard will be used for:
Uploading of all course documents, including slides used in lectures/seminars; updates regarding the course; submission of all assessments

Reading list

A detailed reading list will be distributed at the start of the course, including compulsory reading for each class. A good general text recommended for background reading is;

  • Wallace, Helen. Pollack, Mark A., and Young, Alasdair R. (2014) Policy-making in the European Union (7th ed.) Oxford: Oxford University Press.;

  • It is also recommended that students familiarise themselves with resources available at: (


Via uSis.

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Not applicable.


Dr. G. (Gjovalin) Macaj and Ms. Dr. M.E.L. (Maxine) David