PO/IR 359 - Europe in Crisis

Wars and crises were a permanent feature of European politics up to the end of WWII. Since the start of the European unification project, the old-style politics of military confrontation has lost weight in the continent. However, political crises have reappeared in Europe in a new shape. The sui-generis nature of the EU makes it vulnerable not only to endogenous, but also exogenous shocks. In this context, many of the remarkable political transformations carried out by European leaders since the collapse of the Soviet bloc could in part be understood as reactions to transnational crises. At the same time, the roots of many current political and social problems in this region partially lie in episodes of this kind.

The course will highlight two key points for understanding the crises of the European Union: First, that progress in the European Union is hindered by the so-called legitimacy deficit, which makes stronger political integration nearly impossible; second, that the construction of the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) seems prone to triggering financial crises in some of the EU Member States. Huge financial transfers are necessary to solve these economic imbalances. These problems have underlain the strengthening of populist parties all over Europe.

This course will transmit to students the necessary knowledge to understand the context behind the erosion of the European project and the recurrent outbreak of continent-wide crises. It will not only examine a series of political crises that have challenged the European order, it will also place a special focus on the common strategies developed by the EU to manage these episodes. In light of the intrinsic vulnerability of the European Union to endogenous and exogenous shocks, this course will provide students with the tools to assess the future possibilities of the region.

Course Information


International Relations
Political Science

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