EU Studies Integrative Seminar

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Course Information
Program(s): 
Discipline(s): 
Political Science
Terms offered: 
Fall, Spring
Credits: 
4
Language of instruction: 
English
Contact Hours: 
60
Prerequisites: 

None

Description: 

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.

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 each field and discuss commonalities as well as differences between their various positions. Eventually, this section empowers students to find suitable partner delegations for joint statements.
  • 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 in Freiburg.
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.

Tests missed during unexcused absences cannot be made up!

Learning outcomes: 

By the end of this course students will be able to:

  • Display a comprehensive understanding of the political and economic processes over the wide range of the 28 EU countries.
  • Analyze the achievements, short-comings, and potential of the European project.
  • Compare and contrast political-cultural competencies, allowing them a fresh perspective on their domestic political system.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Apply their insights into the multiplicity of power relations between the various member states.

The above objectives will be achieved by classroom lectures, discussions, debates, presentation and essay writing. Independent study and research will be 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.

FLEXIBILITY: A course on the EU, is a course about a rapidly evolving institution. The course instructor will alter the contents of the course and also the course assignments in order to respond with the maximum of flexibility to ongoing current events and also to the evolving needs of the students. This may well involve modifications in assignments and grades for assignments. Students will be notified whenever such changes are considered advantageous.

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 online discussions or assignments for most of the readings as well as other 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, or a Council Presidency.

Required work and form of assessment: 
  • Two exams - 25%
  • EU Poll Project - 7%
  • First Field Trip Assignment, letter from behind the iron curtain - 7%
  • Second Field Trip Assignment, blog - 7%
  • Policy Paper (Brexit/Brentry) - 7%
  • The Lobby Game -  7%
  • Participation in class, debates and reading assignments - 15%
  • Model EU Policy Statement - 10%
  • Model EU Joint Statement - 5%
  • Model EU Participation - 10%

The EU Poll Project
This class project is designed to engage course participants in discussions about the EU with their roommates or other European citizens. Each student has to partake in the following activities:

  • Participate in creating the questionnaire (in class assignment)
  • Collect at least 5 returns from Europeans (either in Freiburg or while traveling to Brussels and Paris)
  • Analyze the answers to the provided question (done by each student individually on assigned question)

Fictional letter from Berlin/Prague
As a reflective assignment for the first field trip, each student has to write a fictional letter. You can choose a person living under one of the following circumstances:

  • During Nazi rule in Berlin (1933 – 1945)
  • Under Stasi rule in East Berlin (1949 – 1989)
  • During the early 1990s in Berlin (1990 – 1992)
  • During the Prague Spring (1968)
  • During the velvet revolution in Prague (1989)

Field Trip video blog
The video blog is a reflective exercise that needs to cover each field trip day (Monday through Friday) and conclude with a summary of the field trip. Each of the six entries are roughly 2 minutes long, totaling in a video blog of between 8 and 12 mins. 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. Please make sure to sketch out each entry before you record it! There will be an additional hand out provided for this assignment.

Policy Paper: Brentry / Brexit
This policy paper will involve students taking on the role of an interested party in the debate over the United Kingdom’s entry into the EU in the 1970s. Such interested parties might be relevant political parties/ business interests/union interests/foreign representations and such like. The discussion of Brentry will lead to a consideration of British arguments for and against Brexit in the 2016 referendum.

The Lobby Game (Doing Business in the EU)
Students will be presented with a no. of investment scenarios requiring coordination on local, national and EU levels. Working in groups, they will be called on to develop integrated lobbying strategies that will result in the successful implementation of their investment proposal. A power point presentation by each of the groups will be followed by a decision as to which proposal is the more convincing.

Participation
Participation grade is not a grade that reflects attendance. It solely reflects a student’s activity in the class room, during class discussion as well as during group work. 50% of the participation grade is given after session 13, the reminding participation grade is given after session 32. Participation grades are commented and students are encouraged to discuss these with the instructor. The inappropriate use of technology during class may carry a penalty of up to 30 points on the overall participation grade. The instructor may indicate the use of mobile devices during class for special purposes.

Model EU Policy Statement
Except for a 1 page cover letter policy statements are written separately by each member of the delegation (Heads of Government/Foreign Ministers/Finance Ministers) on the topics on the respective agendas (each participant has to write about 2 - 3 pages). However, the policy statements are handed in collectively as one document. Moreover, the delegation has to write an introductory note together, that highlights each delegates points. 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. Make sure to stay in character! 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.

Model EU Joint Statement
Each country representative will have to work on three “Joint Statements” for the Model EU summit. These statements need to be on the topic outlined on the agenda published by the presidency and cannot introduce new items.

In addition, these statements need to be written in small groups (4 to 6 countries). Therefore, students will have to identify potential allies and arrange group meetings. To facilitate group formation a forum will be created on Moodle. You can join a group at any time. If the interests on certain statements are clearly contrary, multiple groups should be formed. The groups should delegate a group leader. If a delegate wants to join a group belatedly to help edit the statements they need to contact the group leader.

Joint Statements are handed in to the Council Advisors during Mock Debate for final editing and publishing.

content: 
SESSION CONTENT READINGS
I. History of the European Union
  Movie time: “Life of the Others”. This movie will be shown at the IES center as a mandatory preparation for class.  
1 The European Union at a Glance
What is Europe? – Is there a European identity? – What Europe means for you? – Why a European Union? – Why is the EU in crisis?
Article on EU identity as posted on Moodle.
2

The History of the EU I
From War to Peace

CLASS TEXT: WHAT EUROPE MEANS FOR YOU

Lelieveldt, Princen, pp. 27-46

3 Theories of European Integration
Theories of European Integration – Intergovernmentalism and supranationalism: Opposing or complementary theories?
 
4 The History of the EU II
The idea of Economic integration
Lelieveldt, Princen, pp. 1-26
5

The History of the EU III
Ever closer union: Deepening and Widening the EU

 
6

Life under Communism
Youth culture – Revolutions – Resolution

Articles on Brentry / Brexit as posted on Moodle.
7 Transition to Market Economies
Different circumstances – different approaches

Article as posted on Moodle.

8 The History of the EU IV
Recap: preparing essay writing skills on the history of the EU
 
9

The EU and its member states – Examples from Germany and the Czech Republic
Germany and Czech Republic’s political system

POLICY PAPER: BRENTRY DUE

Article as posted on Moodle.
10

First Exam
Exam on the history of the EU – Introduction to Model EU

Model EU Information Package (Moodle), Study guide

Course-Related Excursion I
Berlin and Prague
Europe: From Division towards integration
11 Course-Related Excursion I Reflection
Assignment of Model EU positions
 

II. The Institutionional Architecture of the Eu: the Decision making process and the Decision makers

12

 The EU Institutions 1
 The Institutional Architecture

Lelieveldt, Princen, pp. 47-75
13

The EU Institutions 2
 The European Commission

Creative writing assignment: Fictional Letter from Berlin or Prague DUE

Articles as posted on Moodle
14 The EU Institutions 3
The European Council and the Council of Ministers

Presidency meeting: how to write the Agenda?

Articles as posted on Moodle

15 The EU Institutions 4
The European Parliament – Creation of EU Poll Project Questionnaire in class
Lelieveldt, Princen, pp. 151-175
16

The EU Institutions 5
The European Court of Justice

THE LOBBY GAME

Lelieveldt, Princen, pp. 128-150
17 Institutional Review & Organized Interest (Course-Related Excursion II Preparation)  
Course-Related Excursion II
EU Institutions
18 Course-Related Excursion II Reflection
EU poll project FOrms due
Article as posted on Moodle.
19

Policies and Policy Making in the European Union
The European Policy Agenda – The EU Policy Process – Minor Policy Areas – Major Policy Areas

Field Trip VIDEO BLOG DUE

Lelieveldt, Princen, pp. 177-206
20

The role of Member States in EU Policy Making Joint proposals – Negotiations strategies – Using the media

EU poll project analysis

Lelieveldt, Princen, pp. 277-296
21 Second Exam
Testing all material covered since the first exam
Study Guide on Moodle.
22 Course-Related Excursion III Briefing:
EU Member States
The preparation session are split up according to course-related excursion, not classes
 
Course-Related Excursion III
EU Member States
23

Course-Related Excursion III Reflection

Presidency meeting: HOW TO RUN A COUNCIL MEETING?

Article as posted on Moodle.
24 Model EU Policy Issue I/II: Topics defined by Model EU presidency
Historical background – Overview of the area – Specific Model EU Agenda items
pages tba, session takes place in Model EU council setting
25 Model EU Policy Issue I/II: Discussion of various country positions
Each country briefly presents its opinion – Different approaches – Possible Coalitions

Draft Policy Statements, session takes place in Model EU council setting

26 Model EU Policy Issue III/IV: Topics defined by Model EU presidency
Historical background – Overview of the area – Specific Model EU Agenda items
pages tba, session takes place in Model EU council setting
27 Model EU Policy Issue III/IV: Discussion of various country positions
Each country briefly presents its opinion – Different approaches – Possible Coalitions

POLICY STATEMENT DUE

Presidency meeting: FINALIZING PROPOSALS

Draft Policy Statements, session takes place in Model EU council setting
28

Mock Debate on current topic in preparation for Model EU (Wednesday, rooms tba, 4.00pm – 6.00pm)

JOINT STATEMENTS DUE

Rules of procedure (as posted on Moodle).
IV. Capstone: Model European Union Summit
29

Model EU Opening
Tour de Table – Final Setting of the Agenda – Coalition Caucuses

All delegates have to prepare a short opening statement.

 
30 Model EU  
31 Model EU  
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: 

Herman Lelieveldt and Sebatiaan Princen, The Politics of the European Union, CUP, 2015.

In addition, there will be other reading assignments and handouts from the instructor. These will be posted on moodle and are central to the course.

Notes: 

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 each field and discuss commonalities as well as differences between their various positions. Eventually, this section empowers students to find suitable partner delegations for joint statements.
  • 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 in Freiburg.

The Model EU is a simulation of a summit meeting of the European Council (Heads of Government/State, Foreign Ministers and EconFin Ministers). Students will take on different roles at this simulation representing countries or institutions in the negotiations on a pre-set agenda.

Role Application

The following roles are available:

  • Council Presidency (responsible for running the council meeting and setting the agenda)
  • EU Commission (responsible for the proposals discussed during the Model EU)
  • Delegates (Head of government / Foreign Minister / Finance Minister representing an assigned member state)

Students need to apply for one of the above stated positions. The application is handed in through Moodle and must state their motivation, qualification and expectations for the applied 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 presidency positions experience in similar simulations or student government will be helpful.

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 in a separate document. Students taking on a position within “The Council Presidency”, you will draft the agenda instead. Students taking on a position as a commissioner will write proposals on the agenda topics for discussion during Model EU.

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/Finance Ministers) on the topics on the respective agendas (each participant has to write about 2 - 3 pages). However, the policy statements are handed in collectively as one document. Moreover, the delegation has to write an introductory note together, that highlights each delegates points. 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. Make sure to stay in character! 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 all members of the presidency. Each Council Presidency is responsible for its own agenda first. After all councils have put together their respective agendas, these are joined into one document.

The view of the various delegations will be taken into account as well. The agenda is released shortly after 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).

Proposals
The commissioners are responsible for writing two proposals per topic introduced by the presidency’s agenda. The proposals are introduced during the Model EU and are the basis for discussion during the simulation. The commissioners take into account the various positions of the member states voiced through the Joint Statements in formulating the proposals. The commission’s proposals are released shortly before the Model EU.

Joint Statement
Each country representative will have to work on three “Joint Statements” for the Model EU summit. These statements need to be on the topic outlined on the agenda published by the presidency and cannot introduce new items.

In addition, these statements need to be written in small groups (4 to 6 countries). Therefore, students will have to identify potential allies and arrange group meetings. To facilitate group formation a forum will be created on Moodle. You can join a group at any time. If the interests on certain statements are clearly contrary, multiple groups should be formed. The groups should delegate a group leader. If a delegate wants to join a group belatedly to help edit the statements they need to contact the group leader.

Joint Statements are handed in to the Council Advisors during Mock Debate for final editing and publishing.

Outcome
At the end of the Model EU you will have to present your Council Meeting Conclusions. This is a document consisting of all decisions you were able to reach during the summit meeting. These will be based on the proposals prepared by the commissioners 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 therefor will not make it into the Council Meeting 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 council setting. 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 Council Presidencies and all participants.