The European Union has a growing impact on the national (and subnational) legislation of the member states and constitutes the policy room in which fundamental options are taken and quality standards are determined. The study of this actor on a continental scale is indispensable for a good understanding of home politics.
Part I: The EU in context
Part II: Institutions and decision making
Part III: Policy
Articles and literature
Toledo / e-platform
Is also included in other courses
- Bachelor of Economics (Abridged Programme) 120 ects.
- Bridging Programme: Master of Comparative and International Politics 60 ects.
- Bachelor of Economics 180 ects.
- Master of Bioscience Engineering: Biosystems Engineering 120 ects.
- Master of Economics, Law and Business Studies 120 ects.
- Master of Bioscience Engineering: Food Science and Technology 120 ects.
- Master of Bioscience Engineering: Catalytic Science and Technology 120 ects.
- Master of Bioscience Engineering: Agricultural Sciences 120 ects.
- Master of Bioscience Engineering: Land and Forest Management 120 ects.
- Master of Bioscience Engineering: Biomolecular Engineering 120 ects.
- Bachelor of Laws (Programme being phased out as of 2012-2013) (General Option) 180 ects.
- Bachelor of Political and Social Sciences (Major Subject: Political Sciences) 180 ects.
- Bachelor of Philosophy (Option: Political Sciences) 180 ects.
- Bachelor of History (Major Subject: Antiquity Until Present) 180 ects.
- Bachelor of Language and Area Studies: Slavic and East European Studies (Broadening Option) 180 ects.
- Bachelor of Laws (HUB) (General Option) 180 ects.
- Master of Bioscience Engineering: Environmental Technology 120 ects.
- Bachelor of Laws (New Enrolments as from 2012-2013) (General Option) 180 ects.
In this general obligatory course mainly those aspects are raised which have a broad social relevance. A political-scientific approach namely aspires neither a encyclopaedic comprehensiveness nor juridical technicity, but first and foremost spends attention on the interaction between the policy levels in the establishment of standards and implementing policy agreements. The policy frames offered from the EU are very much partly conceived by the member states themselves. These mutual influence processes are therefore as central in this course as the overview of the European actors and the formal decision-making procedures.
The first part of this course discusses the 'constitutional' foundation of the EU: the political principles and the judicial principles on which the EU is based, but also the characteristic elements of the so-called communal method. Special attention goes to the contemporary question about the demarcation of the authorities and assignments between the Union and its member states, including the subnational actors with constitutional status.
The second part gives an overview of the main institutions: the Commission, the (Minister) council, the European Council (of heads of state and government leaders) and the Court of Justice. Attention is always spent on the recent developments within the institution itself and especially on their mutual combined action.
The formal decision processes feature in the third part. In the first place this affects the various legislation procedures and the role and influence of the involved actors. But the combined action between Commission and Council with the implementation of this legislation, the so-called Comitology, merits attention as well. Finally it is investigated which role is reserved (or can be reserved) for a contribution from the national parliaments.
The fourth part of this course focuses on a specific political-scientific analysis of the decision-making processes: how is the consensus, or at least a majority position, reached in the Minister Council, and already beforehand in the COREPER preparation deliberation and, even earlier on, in the numerous work groups of Commission and/or Council? Which role do the individual member states play in this respect and on which grounds and in which way do they determine their national positions? On the basis of a number of striking case studies a more general insight is aspired into the contribution of the member states in the European decision-making process.
- To offer knowledge and insight in the nature and functioning of the EU, the institutions and the policy of the EU.
- To sharpen the analytical ability using a set of conceptual frames.
- To sharpen the critical attitude concerning European integration, the EU and the European policy; scientific and non-scientific analyses of the EU; our own thinking about the EU.
- Offering insight in the area of tension between the theory and practice of European integration.
- To place the EU and the European integration process in a broader whole of other structures and processes.
Description of learning activities
- Neill NUGENT, The Government and Politics of the European Union (Palgrave, 2006, 630 pp.)
- Additional literature (through Toledo)
- Website "Exploring the European Union" (K.U.Leuven)
- Current events
Knowledge and insight questions