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Europe After Brexit: Cooperation and Crises


Module description

The European Union (EU) is entering its seventh decade but - as Brexit shows - it has never been more relevant for the politics of its current (and former) member states and the international system more generally. This course examines critically the debates regarding the establishment, development, actual operation and future of the EU. Particular attention is paid to the development of the EU from a conventional international organisation to a novel, complex political system, the operation of that system, its policies, their development over time and its implications for the member states.

Indicative module syllabus

  • Part A: the history and theories of integration - the creation and development of the EU placed in a wider historical context; the competing theoretical approaches developed by political scientists to explain the emergence and evolution of the Union
  • Part B: the institutional structure of the EU up until (and including) the Treaty of Lisbon. How is the EU governed and why? Who holds power and how is power exercised?
  • Part C: the activity of the EU in a number of policy areas including macro-­economic policy, the single market, socio-­economic regulation, the Common Foreign and Security Policy
  • Part D: a return to ‘basics’ - a discussion of the evolving relations between the EU and its member states (particular emphasis will be placed on the UK), the origin, nature and implications of Euroscepticism and the issue of the EU’s  increasingly visible and explicit politicisation

Learning objectives

Upon completion of this module, you will:

  • be familiar with the history of European integration, the theories and models applied in the study of European integration, their ambitions, achievements and limitations
  • have substantive knowledge of the EU’s political institutions, processes and debates concerning their operation, the policies of the EU and the dynamics of the EU’s relationship with its member states
  • have developed a critical approach to current debates and issues concerning the operation of the EU.