Course 2022-2023 a.y.


Department of Social and Political Sciences

Course taught in English
Go to class group/s: 31
GIO (6 credits - II sem. - OP)
Course Director:

Classes: 31 (II sem.)

Mission & Content Summary


European politics occurs in national capitals and in Brussels. Traditionally much of the disciplinary focus has either been on the European Union and integration (International Relations/EU studies) or the national politics in the Member States in a comparative perspective (Comparative Politics). Increasingly, this failure to adequately explore how both levels of government interact reflects neither the state of European politics nor the cutting edge of research. The mission of this course is to introduce students to national and EU politics using a coherent analytical framework focusing on supranational governance and constraints to democratic delegation within multilevel politics. The course will draw on cutting edge research from all areas of European politics (with a specific focus on Monetary integration and economic governance) to understand some of the most important challenges that national and EU institutions and policy-making face today, such as Brexit, Euroscepticism, political fragmentation, the limits of technocratic government, the rise in populism, and the risk of EU disintegration.


The course introduces students to a basic toolkit used by researchers of advanced democracies and international interdependence and applied to European integration and the European Union to understand both domestic and EU-level politics in Europe. Monetary integration and its impact on national and supranational governance will be the guideline case study.

The course is structured in three blocks.

The first block introduces theoretical models to explain European integration and the shaping of EU-member states interaction.

The second block focuses on electoral politics and policy-making in Europe. The case of the Eurozone crisis will help to study how the functions and powers of the EU institutions changed as a consequence of the crisis and how EU policies had an impact on national voters and the rise and success of new parties (mainly the populist ones).

The third block discusses current challenges to existing models of delegation and interdependence in Europe. Specific attention will be devoted to the issues of supranational democracy and power delegation. Besides, the problems of supranational economic governance and the contrasting views about the distribution of powers and functions between the EU and the member states will be discussed.

Resuming, the main topics discussed in the course follows:

  • Explaining European integration: new theoretical approaches and the lessons of the last 20 years
  • Delegation and Interdependence in Europe: National Democracy vs Supranational Governance
  • Interdependence and governance: Facing the International economic crisis
  • Electoral Politics and Policy-Making in Europe: Technocracy vs Populism
  • Policy Outcomes and Institutional Change
  • Differentiation and Disintegration
  • Future Challenges in Europe

As might be expected for topics as broad and complex as these, while there is much we currently know, many debates are still open. The objective of this course is to weigh the available evidence – both descriptive and causal – to arrive at the fullest possible understanding of key themes within European politics today.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILO)


At the end of the course student will be able to...
  • understand the key theories trying to understand and explain democratic delegation and multilevel politics in Europe;
  • understand the institutional structure, policy-making and electoral politics of European Union and its member states;
  • understand the most important challenges that national and EU institutions and policy-making face today, such as Brexit, Euroscepticism, increasing political fragmentation, the limits of technocratic government and the rise in populism.


At the end of the course student will be able to...
  • use the theoretical and empirical insights presented during the course to assess and interpret the behavior of citizens, politicians and other political actors in Europe through the theoretical lenses of democratic delegation and multilevel politics;
  • use the theoretical and empirical insights presented during the course to outline the key political challenges and risks facing the European Union and its member states.
  • use the theoretical and empirical insights presented during the course to develop policy scenarios that allow for insights into how to address some of these key political challenges and risks in the future.

Teaching methods

  • Face-to-face lectures
  • Case studies /Incidents (traditional, online)
  • Individual assignments


Lectures will be structured according to the standard format: the instructor will present and elaborate on the material contained in the required readings, which the students will have read before class, so as to enhance in-class discussions and students’ participation.

In order to facilitate a deeper understanding of the lecture materials, students will agree with the instructor a case study to prepare as an individual assignment.



Some of the assigned readings will feature a high degree of knowledge and sophistication in terms of theories of politics and methods of analysis. Therefore, students’ attendance is strongly recommended. Although no formal prerequisites are required, the lectures will provide students some background that will help them gain a better understanding of the readings.

The attendance will be measured by the specific app available to all students. To qualify as an attending student and be allowed to take the exam, an attendance rate equal to or higher than 75% must be reported.

Assessment methods

  Continuous assessment Partial exams General exam
  • Written individual exam (traditional/online)
  • Individual assignment (report, exercise, presentation, project work etc.)

Teaching materials


Attending and non-attending students: The required readings for this course will be scientific articles and book chapters that represent the key and/or state of the art contributions to the different topics analyzed. A complete list of the required and suggested reading will be provided in the course syllabus at the beginning of the course and will be available on Blackboard.

Last change 17/12/2022 21:32