EU Studies Integrative Seminar

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Course Information
Political Science
Terms offered: 
Fall, Spring
Language of instruction: 



The Integrative Seminar is mandatory for all European Union Program students. It provides students with an understanding of the origin, development and workings of the European Union, and how these are related to political developments at both the national and international levels. It further constitutes the context in which preparatory sessions preceding each field trip are held and post field trip analysis is conducted. The most important function of the integrative seminar is to serve as a capstone for discussion and analysis of coursework and field study insights, as well as a launching pad for the Model EU simulation.

Attendance policy: 

All IES courses require attendance and participation. Attendance is mandatory per IES policy. Any unexcused absence will incur a penalty of 3% on your final grade. Any student who has more than three (3) unexcused absences will receive an “F” as the final grade in the course. Absences due to sickness, religious observances, and family emergencies may be excusable at the discretion of the Center Director.

In the case of an excused absence, it is the student’s responsibility to inform the Academic Dean of the absence with an Official Excused Absence Form, as well as any other relevant documentation (e.g. a doctor’s note), and to keep a record thereof. This form must be turned in as soon as possible before the class, in the case of a planned absence, or immediately after the class, in the case of an unplanned absence, in order for the absence to be considered excused. It is also the student’s responsibility to inform the professor of the missed class. Students can collect and submit the Official Excused Absence Form from the office of the Academic Dean.


The use of laptop computers during class is not permitted. Cell phones are to be switched off. Updated information on your course and readings can be found on the Moodle platform at

Learning outcomes: 

Students will complete the course having developed a comprehensive understanding of the political and economic processes over the wide range of the 27 EU countries. They will be able to produce academic analyses of the achievements, the short-comings, and the potential of the European project. In addition, they will then have developed comparative political-cultural competencies, allowing them a fresh perspective on their domestic political system.

They will be able to exhibit an in-depth understanding of complexities of the decision-making and policy making processes in the EU, and evaluate the effects of these processes on individual countries. In addition, they will be able to demonstrate a thorough understanding of the interrelation between the EU institutions and the political structures of the EU member states, including such concepts as subsidiarity and Europeanization. Finally, students will learn to use their insights into the multiplicity of power relations between the various member states.

The above objectives will be achieved by classroom lectures and discussions, independent study and research supplemented by first-hand experience on the field trips (including meetings with EU officials, specialized academics, and lobbyists working on or with the EU), and by active participation in the simulation of a European summit which also presents students with the opportunity to develop negotiating skills and articulate a given position.

Method of presentation: 
Classes will be a mixture of brief lectures, group work and moderated discussions. Students are expected to discuss the readings for each class with their fellow students and their professor and to participate actively in group activities. Participation is part of the students’grade, therefore it is expected that all students do contribute during classes, in moodle projects and assignments, field trip lectures and during the Model EU. There will be written assignments for some of the readings as well as activities on moodle. The field-study trips to the EU and related European institutions, to Berlin and Prague, and an elective trip, as well as the Model EU are core components of the course. Insights gained on the trips will flow into class work and the preparation of the Model EU. At the Model EU, each student will be a member of a country delegation, the Council Presidency and  Secretariat, or a journalist.
Required work and form of assessment: 
  • Two exams (15% each) - 30%
  • Field Trip Reflection Essay/Video blog (10% each) - 20%
  • Participation in class and on Moodle - 25%
  • Model EU Policy Statement - 10%
  • Model EU Draft Proposal (collaborative assignment) - 5%
  • Model EU Participation - 10%
There will be two exams on contents covered in the seminars and/or the readings. There are two written assignments for the Model EU (the policy statement and participation in delegation draft proposals). In addition, students will write an essay and create a video blog using insights gained from the field trips. These assignments are described in more detail later in this syllabus.    Field Trip Reflection Essay: the Field Trip Essays should cover 4-5 pages each.   Fild Trip Video Blog: min. 10 – max. 15 minutes. The video blog can be done individually or in groups of two or three students. If you do a group work, you will receive a joint grade. Group blogs can choose different formats such as “interview style”, where one student interviews the other students.   Seminar discussions are based upon the compulsory readings, written assignments and the teaching introductions given at each session.




Intensive Introductory Week


Session 1



Europe and the European Union: Europe before European Integration – The European Union: basic issues – Is there a ‘European’ identity?

Herbert (2007); Dinan (2012)

Session 2


Theories of European Integration: Theories of European Integration – Intergovernmentalism and supranationalism – Multi-Level Governance


Lelieveldt and Princen (2011: 31-50)

Session 3



The History of the EU I: Post-WW II Europe, the Cold War and European integration – Group project: Negotiating the

European Coal and Steel Community

Haas (1958); Schuman (1950)

Session 4



The History of the EU II: Building the European Community, 1958 to 1986: From EEC to SEA

Moravcsik (1991)

Session 5



The History of the EU III: Achieving European Union – the EU as a multi-level polity

Scharpf (2000

Session 6


The History of the EU IV: Ever closer Union? The Eastern enlargement of the EU and the failure of the constitutional

project – the EU and the problem of democratic legitimacy

Majone (2009: 22-45)

Session 7



The EU and its member states: The financial crisis – the EU between integration and fragmentation – Group project: A

structural analysis of the EU’s variable geography

Scharpf (2013); Agamben (2013)

Session 8


The Model EU and Exam Review: Briefing on the Model EU simulation – Review for first exam

Model EU Information Package (moodle), Study guide

Session 9


Exam 1


Session 10



. Field Study Preparation & The EU and its member states – Examples from Germany and the Czech Republic: The Cold War and Europe – Examples from Germany and Czechoslovakia; Review of news

on EU, Germany and Czech Republic




Field Study Trip I (Berlin and Prague). Europe: From Division Towards Integration

Session 11



Field Trip I Reflection


Assignment of Model EU positions




Session 12



The EU Institutions 1:

Institutional Architecture and Policy Modes

Wallace (2010)]

Session 13



The EU Institutions 2:

The European Commission



Peterson (2012)

Session 14



The EU Institutions 3: The European Council and the Council of Ministers




de Schoutheete (2012) and Hayes-Renshaw (2012)

Session 15



The EU Institutions 4: The European Parliament

Shackleton (2012)

Session 16


The EU Institutions 5: The European Court of Justice and the Institutional Architecture revisited

Shuibhne (2012)

Session 17



Field Trip Preparation


Agenda and Country profiles DUE


Field Study Trip II: European Institutions in Western Europe

Session 18

Field Trip II Debriefing


Field Study Trip to the European Parliament (Strasbourg). The workings and functions of

the EP.



Session 19

Policies and Policy Making in the European Union: The European Policy Agenda – Policy and Decision-Making


Field trip video blog due

Lelieveldt and Princen (2011: 79-104)

Session 20

Model EU Policy Issue I/II: Topics defined by Model EU Presidency: Overview of the area – Specific Model EU Agenda items

Readings tba

Session 21

Model EU Policy Issue I/II: Discussion of various country positions: Each country briefly presents its opinion – Different approaches – Possible Coalitions

Policy Statements

Session 22

Model EU Policy Issue III/IV: Topics defined by Model EU Presidency: Historical background – Overview of the area – Specific Model EU Agenda items

Readings tba

Session 23

Model EU Policy Issue III/IV: Discussion of various country positions: Each country briefly presents its opinion – Different approaches – Possible Coalitions

Policy Statements

Session 24

Model EU Focus: Joint proposals – Negotiations strategies – Using the media


Session 25

Final Exam


Session 26

Field Trip Briefing: EU Member States: The preparation session is split up according to field trip, not classes

Model EU: policy statement due





Field Study Trip III: Respective Trip Option

Session 27

Field Trip III Reflection






Session 28

Mock Debate on current topic in preparation for Model EU



Session 29

Model EU Opening and First day of sessions


Heads of Government/State have to prepare a short opening statement.


Session 30

Model EU


Session 31

Model EU


Session 32

Reflection on the term and the Model EU: The EU as a multinational composite

product which is more than the sum of its parts: European Union – more than a least common denominator / European Union – more than

just its member states combined



Required readings: 
  • Agamben, Giorgio (2013) ‘The “Latin Empire” should strike back, 26 March 2013, Libération, Paris.
  • de Schoutheete, Philippe (2012) ‘The European Council’ in John Peterson and Michael Shackelton (eds.) The Institutions of the European Union, 3rd edition. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, pp. 43-67.
  • Dinan, Desmond (2012) ‘How Did We Get Here?’ in Elizabeth Bomberg, John Peterson, and Richard Corbett (eds.) The European Union: How does it work? Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, pp. 23-43.
  • Haas, Ernst B. (1968[1958]) The Uniting of Europe. Political, Social, and Economic Forces 1950-1957. Stanford: Stanford University Press. 
  • Hayes-Renshaw, Fiona (2012) ‘The Council of Ministers’ in The Institutions of the European Union, pp. 68-95.
  • Herbert, Ulrich (2007) ‘Europe in High Modernity. Reflections on a Theory of the 20th Century’, Journal of Modern European History 5: 1, pp. 5-20. 
  • Lelieveldt, Herman and Sebastiaan Princen (2011) The Politics of the European Union. Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, pp. 31-50 and pp. 79-104.
  • Majone, Giandomenico (2009) Europe as the Would-Be World Power. The EU at Fifty. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 
  • Moravcsik, Andrew (1991) ‘Negotiating the Single European Act: National Interests and Conventional Statecraft in the European Community’, International Organization 45: 1, pp. 19-56.
  • Peterson, John (2012) ‘The College of Commissioners’ in The Institutions of the European Union, pp. 96-123.
  • Scharpf, Fritz W. (2000) Notes Toward a Theory of Multilevel Governing in Europe (MPIfG Discussion Paper 00/5). Köln: Max-Planck-Institut für Gesellschaftsforschung. 
  • Scharpf, Fritz W. (2013) Political Legitimacy in a Non-optimal Currency Area (MPIfG Discussion Paper 13/15). Köln: Max-Planck-Institut für Gesellschaftsforschung. 
  • Shackleton, Michael (2012) ‘The European Parliament’ in The Institutions of the European Union, pp. 124-147.
  • Shuibhne, Niamh Nic (2012) ‘The Court of Justice of the European Union’ in The Institutions of the European Union, pp. 148-169. 

In addition, there will occasionally be other reading assignments and handouts from the instructor particularly on the Model EU topics. These will be posted on moodle.

Other Resources: 
LINKS: Official EU website: Euractiv: European Policy Center: EU Observer. Europaeum. European Affairs.   In order to keep up to date on current events, especially those involving European affairs, it is recommended that you regularly read the Economist, a British weekly. Its name is misleading, as the  paper caters not only to economists and the business community, but also to a wider educated public. It also always contains a section on “Europe”. In addition, listen to the BBC worldwide services and/or watch BBC television. 
About the course structure: The course is divided into four main parts. The first is an intensive introductory phase during which you will be learning about the history of the EU and look at two member states, Germany and Czech Republic, in more detail. You will visit these two member states on the first field trip. There will be a test about the material covered at the end of this phase. The second part begins with the twice weekly regular classes and is devoted to the institutional architecture of the EU as well as the four major EU decision-making institutions: the Council of the European Union, the European Commission, the European Parliament and the European Court of Justice. During this phase, we will conduct an EU Poll project. The third section of the course provides an introduction to EU policy fields. It covers all policy fields discussed during the Model EU. First the background and historical development of these policies  is discussed, before these are placed into context with current policies and politics in the EU. In addition to introducing the policy fields, students present their assigned country’s position on the each field and discuss commonalities as well as differences between their various positions. Eventually, this section empowers students to find suitable delegations for joint proposals. Moreover, there are six classes integrated into the course which are devoted to the preparation of and reflection on the field-study trips. These classes are designed to ensure that students derive as much information and inspiration from the field-study lectures as possible and that they are able to connect their insights with the academic work, both classes and Model EU, in Freiburg.   THE MODEL EU The Model EU is a simulation of a summit meeting of the European Council (Heads of Government/State and Foreign Ministers). Students will take on different roles at this simulation representing countries or institutions in the negotiations about a pre-set agenda. Role Application
  • Council President (responsible for running the council meeting and setting the agenda)
  • Secretariat (supporting the president in running the meeting and setting the agenda)
  • Delegates (Head of government / Foreign Minister representing an assigned member state)
  • Journalists (responsible for the creation of a wordpress site with interviews, background information, videos etc.)
Students need to apply for a particular position, either a country delegate position or an institutional role (Permanent President, High Representative of CFSP, Council Secretariat) or a journalist. All students must hand in written applications stating their motivation, qualification and expectations for the hoped for position(s) and/or country (please provide alternative choices). You can also apply in a more general manner, e.g. “I would like to represent a smaller country as Foreign Minister because …”. For the chair positions (Permanent President and High Representative) experience in similar simulations or student government will be helpful. Applications are handed out through a form on the Model EU Moodle Course page.   Policy Statement and Agenda If you are representing a country at the Model-EU you will have to prepare a policy statement which presents the basic stances of your country delegation on the issues on the agenda. You will have to state the sources used to write your policy statement on a separate document. The Permanent President, the High Representative of CFSP and the members of the Council Secretariat (organizing committee) will draft the agenda instead.   Policy Statements Except for a 1 page cover letter policy statements are written separately by each member of the delegation (Heads of Government/Foreign Ministers) on the topics on the respective agendas (each participant has to write 3-4 pages). However, the policy statements are handed in collectively as one document. Moreover, the delegation has to write an introductory note together. The statements  should have one common format. Students are graded separately for their respective parts of the policy statement. There are various ways to write your policy statement. The essential aspect is that you have to provide your delegation’s basic stance on the issues at hand. Depending on your strategy and your interest in a given topic you can be more or less open about your positions and intentions. You might for example want to hint at possible compromises to show your conciliatory attitude. In contrast, you might find it advantages on another issue to take a strong bargaining position.  Policy statements are written in “high style.” You are writing as the highest representatives of your country and these are official documents. This does not mean that you should write meaningless statements in inflated prose. The policy statements need to have substance as they are the basis for discussion at the summit meeting.   Agenda The basic agenda topics are determined by the presidency early during the semester. This agenda will be narrowed down and focused by the Permanent President and the High Representative for Foreign Affairs in cooperation with the Secretariat of the Council. The view of the various delegations will be taken into account as well. The agenda is released prior to the Institutions field trip and describes the issues to be discussed during the simulation in sufficient detail. (Commonly, the agenda has a length of 8 to 10 pages, including an introduction/invitation letter).   Delegation Agenda Proposals Each country representative will have to work on at least two proposals for the Model EU summit. These proposals need to be on the topic outlined on the agenda published by the presidency and cannot introduce new items. In addition, these proposals are joint delegation proposals which means the proposals will be written in small groups. Therefore, students will have to identify potential allies and arrange group meetings. To facilitate group formation a forum will be created on moodle. The council secretariat will help organize groups and will collect the agenda proposals to eventually put these together as one document for the summit meeting. You can join a group at any time. If the interests on certain proposals are clearly contrary, multiple groups should be formed. These should draft alternative proposals. If you are looking for allies you should post the topic and your general position on it on moodle to invite others. Alternatively you can join a group that has already been formed in that manner. The groups should delegate a group leader. If a delegate wants to join a group belatedly to help edit the proposals they need to contact the group leader.   Journalists: Journalists take up a unique position during the Model EU simulation since they do not play the role of a participant in the summit but the role of an observer. Journalists accompany the delegates and the presidency on their way to the summit meeting at the end of the semester by chronicling the developments by their choice of media. The task is threefold:
  • Provide country profiles
  • Provide critical commentaries on the agenda items
  • Evaluate the summit outcome
Journalists can choose from a choice of platforms such as typo3, wordpress, Drupal or other web content tools. Journalists are free in the choice of media. Written text as well as video or audio formats are equally acceptable.   Outcome: At the end of the Model EU you will have to present your Presidency Conclusions. This is a document consisting of all decisions you were able to reach during the summit meeting. These will be based on the joint proposals prepared by the delegations prior to the summit, but will necessarily reflect the national and ideological positions brought to the bargaining table. Moreover, some proposals may have been successfully introduced or broadened during the summit. Yet others may have failed to receive sufficient backing from all member states and there for will not make it into the Presidency Conclusions.   Please note: The Model EU is prepared in class both in terms of procedure and in terms of content. However, it is imperative that all students prepare for the simulation independently. All participants need to be well versed in the Rules of Procedure as well as the topics being discussed in their forum. Moreover, all students need to have a clear concept of their role (e.g. the position of their government on the topics) to be able to play this role effectively, adjust to unforeseen developments and to generally stay in character. Faculty will be present at the summit meeting. However, they will interfere as little as possible with the proceedings. The effective running of the simulation is the responsibility of the Presidency / High Representative and all other participants.