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EU Policymaking and Implementation


Admission requirements

Admission to the Master Public Administration


People have become more critical of European policy and often seem to prefer local policy solutions in response to globalization problems. How do you experience EU policy? Does it help? And if not, how can we change this? In this course, we learn how EU policy is made, and how policy is transferred to member states and implemented by various authorities, including regional and local governments.

In this course, we discuss the challenges of the European multi-level governance structure by focusing on the various actors that are involved, but also presenting important theoretical perspectives and analytical frameworks. We also focus on the main causes of policy failure or success.

To illustrate these processes and challenges, we are going to research on a concrete policy file: the implementation of the European clean air policy, which is specified in Directive 2008/50. This policy has become rather controversial in the Netherlands: recently, a court in The Hague has ruled that the Dutch government needs to comply with norms as specified by this Directive. In especially larger cities, which have a lot (auto) mobility, the norms on PM (particulate matter) and NO2 are difficult to meet. Still, municipalities need to act and have to make plans (and determine concrete measures) to reduce local air pollution to improve air quality.

In this course, we are going to do research leading to papers on how individual municipalities have handle these problems. If you are an EU student, no problem: you can research the situation in your country. If you are a non-EU student, also no problem: you can also research the situation in your country of origin. This helps in making interesting comparisons between municipalities, regions and countries.

Course objectives

  • Students will have an advanced understanding of the European multilevel policy process with an emphasis on the role of various political actors at the EU level and their links with national, regional or local governments, which play a role in the actual implementation of policy, including the theories and analytical frameworks that have been developed in this field.

  • Students will have sufficient capacity to critically analyze policymaking and implementation in the European multilevel context;

  • Students will be able to apply important topics in multilevel governance and policymaking by analyzing concrete cases of policymaking with an emphasis on implementation.


On the right side of programme front page of the E-guide you will find links to the website and timetables, uSis and Blackboard.

Mode of instruction

The course is based on blended learning: key topics are explained in brief knowledge clips, which are supplemented with videos on an example of EU policymaking and implementation at different levels of governance. This example is European air quality policy, which currently attracts a lot of attention. EU and regional or local experts explain in these cases the main goals of a policy, but also the way in which these policies are transposed and implemented in their region. During the seminar meetings we discuss the knowledge clips as well as the readings and develop the students’ own research on implementation.

Course Load

Total course load for the course is 140 hours:

  • Attending in-class meetings (18 hours based on 6 meetings)

  • Knowledge clips (in total 29 videos), including quizzes (23 hours)

  • Oral exam and feedback on research paper (1 hour)

  • Time for studying the compulsory literature and preparing the research paper (98 hours)

Assessment method

Students are required:

  • to take actively part in the seminar meetings, which are obligatory; and

  • to work on the various quizzes and assignments.

Your final grade is based on the following rules:
1. quizzes within the context of the blended environment (pass/fail),
2. oral exam, demonstrating understanding of and critical assessment of key arguments of the knowledge clips and the readings (40%), and
3. research paper analyzing policy implementation (60%).

Here some additional rules on your grading and participation:

  • Weekly presence: you are allowed to miss one class with prior notification. If absence was not notified or you miss two or more classes, no grade will be given.

  • Weekly knowledge quizzes: The five weekly knowledge quizzes test insights on the knowledge clips and readings. The grade is based on the average of the 4 quizzes (best out of 5 quizzes). You are allowed to miss 1 quiz. The grade will then be based on the average of the 4 quizzes. Skipping more than 1 quiz will result in a retake. The quizzes should be completed before the Friday of the lecture (00.00 AM). Check the course overview for the exact dates. The numerical grade for these quizzes can be used for your oral exam grade (see below).

  • Grade exam: The grade of the oral exam may take account of the results of the quizzes. With your agreement (which you need to indicate in advance), the working procedure will be that 25% of the grade of the oral exam is based on the average of the 4 best results of your weekly quizzes (there in total of 5 quizzes). The other 75% is based on your exam. Otherwise, you receive only a grade for your oral exam (you still need to pass the quizzes!).

  • No show: In case of no show, no participation in quizzes, or no paper submission before the deadline, no grade will be given, while you lose your possibility of a resit (unless the Board of Examiners decides otherwise).

  • Grades and final grades: The grades for the research paper and oral exam must be a 5.5 or higher. The final grade is the weighted mean of the two partial grades and must be a 5.5 or higher. The final grade is conditional on a pass for the quizzes related to the videos.

  • Retake weekly knowledge quizzes: You will be permitted to retake the weekly knowledge quizzes if you have an average grade lower than 5.5 and equal or higher than 3.0 (or with permission of the Board of Examiners). This possibility only applies to students who participated in at least four weekly quizzes. It does not apply to students who missed two or more weekly quizzes (see no show). The retake will be one quiz on the material of all five weeks of knowledge videos and readings.

  • Resit exam: You will be permitted to resit an examination if you have a mark lower than 5.5 and equal or higher than 3.0 (or with permission of the Board of Examiners). The new exam will be scheduled within four (working) weeks after the initial date of the exam.

  • Resit paper: You will be permitted to resit on the research paper if you have a mark lower than 5.5 and equal or higher than 3.0 (or with permission of the Board of Examiners). A revised paper needs to be submitted within 4 (working) weeks after the deadline of the initial paper.


Blackboard is an essential tool of this course. There will be more information posted on Blackboard.

Reading list

See the Blackboard pages of the course.


Use both uSis and Blackboard to register for every course.

Register for every course and workgroup via uSis. Some courses and workgroups have a limited number of participants, so register on time (before the course starts). In uSis you can access your personal schedule and view your results. Registration in uSis is possible from four weeks before the start of the course.

Also register for every course in Blackboard. Important information about the course is posted there.


Prof.dr. B. Steunenberg


See for a teaser, watch the clip on youtube about this course. Please note that we have weekly meetings during the course, supplementing the knowledge clips! And you do not need to subscribe at Coursera.