European Union Policies in Practice

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Course Information
Program(s): 
Discipline(s): 
Political Science
Economics
Terms offered: 
Fall, Spring
Credits: 
3
Language of instruction: 
English
Contact Hours: 
45
Prerequisites: 

None

Description: 

This course will cover the most important EU policy fields and discuss how they have been put into practice. You will learn about key EU economic policy, competition policy, agriculture policy as well as social, foreign and trade policy. The "environmental" policy field that drives many
areas involving environment, social, energy, transport and other EU policy, as well as foreign
and domestic relations will be examined closely. In addition we will discuss important EU policy related topics such as EU enlargement, the joint European education system and critical questions concerning the future EU. You will gain an understanding of both successful and challenging aspects of EU policy, and the dynamic behind EU and EU Member State competences (exclusive, shared and supported) for policy making and implementation.

Attendance policy: 

All IES Abroad courses require attendance and participation. Attendance is mandatory per IES Abroad 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! Assignments that are handed in after the due date will be penalized, unless the student’s absence on the due date has been excused.

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 https://eu.elearning.iesabroad.org/.

Learning outcomes: 

By the end of the course, students are able to:

  • Distinguish the diverse policy fields of the EU;
  • Understand why certain policy fields are significantly more developed than others;
  • Critically assess the success and drawbacks of European integration;
  • Understand how EU policy is put into practice.
  • Understand, discuss and debate pros, cons and challenges to implementing EU policy.
Method of presentation: 

Lectures, seminar discussions, group projects

Required work and form of assessment: 
  • Midterm exam - 30%

  • Final exam - 30%

  • Essays - 25%

  • Class participation and group projects - 15%

Midterm Exam
The midterm exam consists of multiple-choice questions covering the material of the first eight sessions (to ensure that the basics of EU’s policies in practice have been understood), and three essay questions.

Final exam
The final exam will cover material from all sessions. Whereas the midterm exam serves to ensure that you had an understanding of the basics of the policies and policy-processes presented mid-way through the course, the final exam will permit you to demonstrate your ability to describe, analyze, critique and justify your recommendations on policy areas presented in this course. It will consist of multiple-choice questions and three essay questions.

Essays
5 short essays (2-3 pages each). These will be written on session-related topics (a list of questions will be provided for each short essay). The short essays will serve as a basis for seminar discussions and group work. They are to be submitted via e-mail before the start of the respective session indicated in the syllabus.

Class Participation and Group Projects  
Seminar discussions are based upon the required readings and teaching introductions to the subject given at each session by the instructor. All students are expected to come to class having completed the required readings and join the seminar discussions with prepared questions. Required readings will be made available on Moodle. Students are required to participate actively in the group work and to give brief group presentations.  

 

 

 

content: 

Session

Content

Readings

1

The EU policies in practice: The policy portfolio and the policy cycle

Policy-making in the EU is very complex. After a brief overview of the EU’s policy portfolio and the varying extents of EU policy we will analyze the different stages of the EU’s policy cycles.

Buonanno, L. and N. Nugent (2013) Policies and Policy Processes of the European Union. Basingstoke and New York: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 5-22.

2

The budget: Who gets what, when, and how?

Budget bargaining is a highly contentious affair because behind each revenue source a tug-of-war is going on between ‘contributors’ and ‘receivers’ and between integrationists and intergovernmentalists.

Buonanno, L. and N. Nugent (2013) Policies and Policy Processes of the European Union. Basingstoke and New York: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 296-318.

3

The single market in Europe

The single European market program marks a turning point in European integration. Although the task of completing the single market remains unfinished, it has moved to the centre of European integration and fundamentally transformed state-market relations in Europe. Discussion on the role of the European Court of Justice in promoting and protecting the Internal/Single Market.

 

Young, A. (2015) ‘The Single Market: From Stagnation to Renewal?’ in Helen Wallace, Mark A. Pollack, and Alasdair R. Young (eds.) Policy-Making in the European Union, 7th edition. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, pp. 115-140.

European Commission (2010) ‘Free Movement of Goods: Guide to the Application of Treaty Provisions Governing the Free Movement of Goods’ pp.8-21, 26-30.

4

EU competition policy

European competition policy attempts to control restrictive practices, abuse of dominant position, mergers, state aid, and the liberalization of utilities. Due the scale of the workload and the rapid growth of national competition authorities, the Commission has responded with a bold strategy to decentralize the implementation of competition rules within the EU.

Wilks, S. (2015) ‘Competition Policy: Defending the Economic Constitution’ in Helen Wallace, Mark A. Pollack, and Alasdair R. Young (eds.) Policy-Making in the European Union, pp. 141-165.

5

The EU as a regulatory state

The success of the single market program has been such that many authors see it as a defining feature of the EU. In fact, regulation is so central to the EU’s functioning that it can usefully be considered a ‘regulatory state’. A regulatory state attaches greater importance to the process of regulation than to other forms of policy-making.

Kelemen, R. D. and Majone, G. (2012) ‘Managing Europeanization: the European Agencies’ in John Peterson and Michael Shackleton (eds.) The Institutions of the European Union, 3rd edition. Oxford University Press, pp. 219-240.

6

The EU as an international trade actor

It is with its trade policy that the EU most resembles a state actor in external affairs, exercising an exclusive competence to negotiate accords on behalf of all EU member states in most areas of external trade. This requirement coupled with the very considerable volume of external EU trade, makes the EU an extremely important international trade actor.

Woolcock (2015) ‘Trade Policy: Policy-Making after the Treaty of Lisbon’ in Helen Wallace, Mark A. Pollack, and Alasdair R. Young (eds.) Policy-Making in the European Union, pp. 388-406.

7

Economic and monetary union

Economic and monetary union (EMU) provides the EU with a major role in macroeconomic policy-making. The members of the euro area have exchanged national currencies for the euro and delegated responsibility for monetary policy to the European Central Bank (ECB). Member states have also agreed to coordinate their budgetary policies and structural reform. The effects of the financial crisis and turmoil in the real economy provide the toughest test to date of EMU’s system of monetary and economic policy-making. A short discussion on the arrangements between the Troika and Greece.

De Grauwe, P. (2013) Design Failures in the Eurozone: Can they be fixed? (LEQS Paper No. 57). London: LSE.

 

8

Building a socio-economic union?

The dynamics of market integration have spilled over into the EU social arena. However, under the pressures from integrated markets member governments have lost more control over national welfare policies than the EU has gained in transferred authority. Discussion on the potential Brexit and limitation of freedom of movement of EU citizens.

 

Scharpf, F. (2010) ‘The asymmetry of European integration, or why the EU cannot be a “social market economy”’, Socio-Economic Review 8, pp. 211-50.

 

 

9

Cohesion policy (30 Minutes)

Over the past years expenditure on the structural funds grew steadily. Since 1985 the structural funds have been specifically linked to the promotion of economic and social cohesion. Over time, cohesion policy has been progressively associated with a growing number of broader EU objectives, such as economic growth, competitiveness, employment, sustainable development, regionalism, and good governance.

Bache, I. (2015) ‘Cohesion Policy: A new Direction for New Times?’ in Helen Wallace, Mark A. Pollack, and Alasdair R. Young (eds.) Policy-Making in the European Union, pp. 243-262.

10

Midterm Exam (60 Minutes)

 

 

 

11

Constructing an area of freedom, security and justice in Europe

The area of freedom, security and justice (AFSJ) has been a rapidly expanding aspect of EU policy activity since the mid-1990s covering a wide range of policies. Among particular policy matters falling under AFSJ are immigration, asylum, visas, citizenship rights, and the combating of terrorism and of organized crime.

Discussion on freedom to move and live in the EU.

Lavenex, S. (2015) ‘Justice and Home Affairs: Institutional Change and Policy Continuity’, in H. Wallace, M. Pollack, and A. Young (eds.) Policy-Making in the European Union, pp. 367-387.

 

European Commission ‘Freedom to Move and Live in Europe: A Guide to Your Rights as an EU Citizen’ (excerpts)

12

European Energy Policy

Introduction – current challenges – distribution of material for working groups.

Buchan, D. (2015) ‘Energy Policy: Sharp Challenges and Rising Ambition’ in Helen Wallace, Mark A. Pollack, and Alasdair R. Young (eds.) Policy-Making in the European Union, pp. 344-366.

13

Group project: Designing a European Energy Security Strategy for the 21st century

Group work: the geopolitics of energy security

 

14

Enlargement of the European Union

The European Union has expanded many times, and its widening continues. Enlargement demonstrates the success of the European model of integration, but poses fundamental questions. It has implications both for how the EU works (its structure and institutions) and for what it does (policies). Discussion on the potential enlargement in the Western Balkans and Ukraine.

Sedelmeier, U. (2015) ‘Enlargement: Constituent Policy and Tool for External Governance’ in Helen Wallace, Mark A. Pollack, and Alasdair R. Young (eds.) Policy-Making in the European Union, pp. 407-435.

15

European security and defense policy

The common foreign and security policy (CFSP) seeks to combine the political weight of twenty-eight EU member states in the pursuit of common goals. But ‘European foreign policy’ must integrate a wide range of other policies to be effective. Likewise, any assessment of the EU’s role in global affairs must consider CFSP as one policy area within a broader external relations toolkit. Despite high ambitions and a significant degree of institutionalization, the record so far is rather mixed.

Howorth, J. (2011) ‘The EU’s Security and Defence Policy: Towards a Strategic Approach’, in International Relations and the European Union, pp. 197-225. 

 

16

EU development policy

The EU and its member states spend around 50 billion EUR annually on development aid, or over half of the global total. The EU’s aid policy, however, has faced serious challenges in recent years. Evidence that EU aid programs are not very effectively managed has contributed to ‘donor fatigue’.

Carbone, M. (2011) ‘The EU and the developing world: partnership, poverty, politicisation’ in Christopher Hill and Michael Smith (eds.) International Relations and the European Union, 2nd edition. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, pp. 324-348.

17

Seminar discussion: Is the EU a soft, small, normative or civilian power?

The EU developed as a self-consciously ‘civilian’ power, with European security provided through NATO under US leadership. Yet, there is still little agreement on what a common foreign policy should be about.

Kagan, R. (2002) ‘Power and Weakness’, Policy Review 113, pp. 3-28.

 

18

Discussion round: taking stock of EU policies in practice

 

19

 

Final exam

 

 

Required readings: 
  • Buonanno, L. and N. Nugent (2013) Policies and Policy Processes of the European Union. Basingstoke and New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

  • De Grauwe, P. (2013) Design Failures in the Eurozone: Can they be fixed? (LEQS Paper No. 57).

  • European Commission (2010) ‘Free Movement of Goods: Guide to the Application of Treaty Provisions Governing the Free Movement of Goods’.

  • European Commission (2010) ‘Freedom to Move and Live in Europe: A Guide to Your Rights as an EU Citizen’.\

  • Hill, C. and M. Smith (eds.) International Relations and the European Union, 2nd edition. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press.\

  • Kagan, R. (2002) ‘Power and Weakness’, Policy Review 113.

  • Peterson, J. and M. Shackleton (eds.) The Institutions of the European Union, 3rd edition. Oxford University Press.

  • Scharpf, F. (2010) ‘The asymmetry of European integration, or why the EU cannot be a “social market economy”’, Socio-Economic Review 8, pp. 211-50.

  • Wallace, H., M.A. Pollack, and A.R. Young (eds.) Policy-Making in the European Union, 7th edition. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press.