Course 2023-2024 a.y.


Department of Social and Political Sciences

Course taught in English

Class timetable
Exam timetable
Go to class group/s: 23
BIG (6 credits - II sem. - OB  |  3 credits SECS-P/01  |  3 credits SPS/04)
Course Director:

Classes: 23 (II sem.)

Synchronous Blended: Lessons in synchronous mode in the classroom (for a maximum of one hour per credit in remote mode)

Suggested background knowledge

Students should be familiar with the basics of macroeconomics.

Mission & Content Summary


The European Union (EU) is a key player on the global stage. It accounts for around 20 per cent of the world GDP. It hosts a single market of around 500 million inhabitants, with the second most diffused currency in the world: the euro. Since the Treaty of Rome, signed in 1957, European integration has progressed substantially in all fields, including both the economic and the political sphere. Today, understanding the making, rationale, and evolution of EU policies is of fundamental importance for policy makers, analysts, and managers operating in the EU. Relatedly, it is key to understand the political dynamics of the EU, and their interplay with national politics.


This is an Engage Course within the CIVICA Bachelor Engage Track developed within the framework of the CIVICA alliance.


The course aims at analysing the process of economic and political integration of European countries, through a theoretical, policy, and political perspective.


European politics occurs in national capitals and in Brussels. Traditionally much of the disciplinary focus has either been on the European Union and integration or the national politics in the Member States. 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 politics part of this course introduces students to a basic toolkit used by researchers of advanced democracies and international interdependence (including spatial models, veto players, two-level games etc.) to understand both domestic and EU-level politics in Europe in conjuction. 


The economics part of the course starts with a general overview of EU integration from the 1950s until today. It then moves to discussing the EU budget, with its sources of revenues and areas of expenditure. The main features of the Next Generation EU strategy are also extensively covered. This lays the foundations for studying the main policies currently undertaken by the European Union: competition, agriculture, cohesion, and international trade. The connection between economic and political dynamics is addressed, with specific attention to the link between globalization, Brexit, and the success of nationalist forces in Europe. A substantial part of the course is devoted to the Economic and Monetary Union: origins, architecture, and evolution over the Great Financial Crisis and the Covid-19 pandemic.


Intended Learning Outcomes (ILO)


At the end of the course student will be able to...
  • students should have a thorough knowledge of the main policies of the European Union, and a clear understanding of the economic and political rationale behind such policies
  • students should be familiar with the EU decision-making processes and political dynamics, as well as with their interplay with national politics.



At the end of the course student will be able to...
  • students should be able to analyze in a critical way the economic, policy, and political dynamics of the European Union;
  • students should be able to write policy memos and critical reports on specific policy proposals;
  • students should be ready to take on junior roles with such responsibilities within EU institutions, think tanks, research centers, public affairs companies, and corporate business units dealing with the EU policy making.

Teaching methods

  • Face-to-face lectures
  • Guest speaker's talks (in class or in distance)
  • Case studies /Incidents (traditional, online)
  • Individual assignments
  • Group assignments
  • Interactive class activities on campus/online (role playing, business game, simulation, online forum, instant polls)


There will be two guest lectures where prominent speakers from the EU institutions (or related entities) and researchers on EU affairs are invited to talk about current EU developments.

Interactive class discussions are foreseen for specific case studies on current EU developments. These will involve the use of BClicker.

An essay assignment on current EU developments is planned as part of the course evaluation. This can be written individually or in groups of up to four students. For students of the CIVICA Engage Track, the assignment has to be written individually.

Assessment methods

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


There are two options for the exam: (1) two intermediate written exams plus an assignment; or (2) a general written exam covering the entire course program.

The assessment will test the knowledge of: the main policies of the European Union; the economic and political rationale behind such policies; the EU decision-making processes and political dynamics, and their interplay with national politics.

For option (1):

  • The first intermediate written exam is worth 40% of final marks. It covers all topics addressed until the date of the exam.
  • The assignment is worth 30% of final marks. It is a short essay allowing students to explore in detail one of the relevant policy issues related to the Economic and Monetary Union, and its implications for civic society. The group assignment will be carried out during the second part of the course. Students can choose to do it individually or in groups of maximum four students. The assignment has to be individual for students of the CIVICA Engage Track.


The second intermediate written exam is worth 30% of final marks. It covers the remaining topics of the course (not covered in the first partial and in the assignment).

Teaching materials


In order to provide updated materials for a fast-evolving subject such as the process of European integration, the main materials of the course are provided via lecture notes (slides) uploaded on the course Blackboard page.


In addition, for the politics part of the course, the reference book is: "Foundations of European Politics; A Comparative Approach" by Catherine de Vries et al. (2021) Oxford University Press.


For the economics part of the course, additional materials can be found in the textbook titled "Economics and Politics of the European Union", created specifically for this course by McGraw Hill, integrating materials from various sources. This textbook can be purchased in hard copy from the EGEA bookshop.


Additional papers and articles may be distributed through the Blackboard platform.


Last change 12/12/2023 10:36