This course will introduce students to the history and main political and economic features of European integration, the political system of the European Union, its economic and public policies, as well as parties and public opinion. We will seek to understand and examine the logic of economic integration, the political institutions of the European Union, as well as its philosophical foundations and historical development. Furthermore, its relationship to the EU member states will be studied in a comparative perspective and with special focus on the case of Spain. Students will become familiar with history and the contemporary polity, politics, policy-making and policies of the European Union, as well as its current major challenges: enlargement, Euroscepticism and Euro-crisis.
The course consists of five major parts:
- Analyze and reconstruct the historical development of economic integration in Europe and the political-philosophical justifications for the establishment of the European Union.
- Discuss the contemporary theories of European integration, including neo-functionalism, inter-governmentalism, and multi-level governance.
- Focuses on the government and its institutions. It scrutinizes the European Union as a supra-national polity, covering the EU´s existing major political institutions and its decision-making procedures and policy scope.
- Covers the main elements of the emerging EU politics: we explore the role of public opinion, get to know the transnational European political parties and analyze recent EP elections results, as well as the influence of interest groups on European policy-making.
- Deals with European economic and public policies with central focus on the creation and development of the Single Market and its complementary expenditure policies: Common Agricultural Policy and Regional Policy. Furthermore, we will discuss the historical development and current situation of the Economic and Monetary Union. We will examine the problems of the Euro-crisis, with a focus on the recent economic and political developments in Spain. We will also look at internal policies which accompany economic integration. Finally, some aspects of Foreign Policy will be discussed – most notably, the economic impact and political challenges of recent and future enlargements. Special attention will be paid to the social, economic and political consequences of EU accession of Spain.
As we discuss the different topics, we will move “down” to the discussion of selected EU member states and their relationship to/influence on the EU, and “up” in so far as we also broaden the horizon by incorporating comparative analyses (especially comparisons of the EU with the US) in order to deepen the understanding of the character of the EU. Special attention will be paid to the integration of Spain in the European Community and the economic reforms that were made in the country to meet the standards of the EU, as well as how the adhesion of Spain to the European Union has affected the national identity and nationalist forces in the Spanish regions, and the democratic consolidation in the country.
Watch this short video to get an overview for this course!