PO/IR 359 - Europe in Crisis? Perspectives on the current state of the EU

”Europe will be forged in crises and will be the sum of solutions adopted for those crises” – These words of Jean Monnet, one of the European Union’s founding fathers, echo the notion that since its conception and establishment, the European ‘project’ has repeatedly been a crisis-ridden endeavor. Nonetheless, the European unification process has been characterized by its claim to build an ‘ever closer union’ and search for cooperative forms of problem solving. Political crises in Europe, however, seem to have taken a new shape in recent years. The sui-generis nature of the European Union seems to make it vulnerable not only to endogenous, but also to exogenous blows. The roots of many current political and social problems in Europe, at least partially, seem to lie in home-grown, albeit Europe-wide, economic, political, or societal factors. This course will highlight key points for understanding the multiple crises of the European Union: flaws of and challenges for its institutional design; its diverging approaches to reform, the degrees of cooperation and future integration. These open questions have underlain the strengthening of populist parties all over Europe. This course will provide the necessary knowledge and skills to understand the multiple crises that challenge the European project and assess the consequences they have in and for Europe on the one hand and on the global stage on the other. In this course, students will not only examine a series of political crises that have challenged the European order, they will also analyze the common strategies the EU has developed to manage these episodes. In light of the susceptibility of the European Union to endogenous and exogenous challenges, this course will provide students with the tools to assess the future options and potentials of the region and the European project.

NOTE: This course is offered during the regular semester and in the winter. For winter sections, the course schedule is condensed, but the content, learning outcomes, and contact hours are the same.

Course Information


International Relations
Political Science

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