Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Academic Year
Semester 2
Other Staff

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Lecture 18 Hours. (18 x 1 hour)
Seminars / Tutorials 6 Hours. (6 x 1 hour)


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Seminar Presentation  10%
Semester Assessment 2,500 word essay  40%
Semester Exam 2 Hours   Exam  50%

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

-Have a detailed and critical awareness of contemporary politics and policies within the European Union and the union's importance to the states of Europe.
-Identify and apply appropriate concepts and theories to enable them to critically analyse the complexities of European integration.
-Recognise the major debates and issues concerning the exercise of power and authority within and between constituent levels of government in Europe.
-Demonstrate, through written work and in seminar discussions, an awareness and understanding of different national and European level policies and interests.
-Effectively deploy skills of: identification and location of appropriate sources; independent study; writing (essays and examinations); IT skills and time-management.

Brief description

This module provides the foundation for a comprehensive analysis and understanding of the concepts and dynamics of the European Union (EU). It examines the key institutions and state actors in European integration and the policies and issues that are central to the future of Europe.


The module provides an overview of the emergence of the European Union and the theoretical approaches to European integration. It then moves on to examine in more detail the evolving institutional framework of the EU and the issues surrounding its reform. The second half of the module analyses the key policy areas and assesses the role of the EU in the current international climate. It also explores the implications of the EU for states of Europe, both those who are EU members and those who are not.


Setting the Scene
1. Introduction to the module: What is Europe and why study the EU?
2. The Historical Legacy
3. Theories of European Integration
4. Theories of European Governance

Governing Europe
5. The Institutions of the EU: The European Parliament
6. The Institutions of the EU: The European Commission and Executive Governance
7. The Institutions of the EU: The Councils
8. EU Law and the Courts:
9. Legitimacy & Democracy
10. Do we Need a Contitution?

Policies and Issues
11. Policies and Processes
12. Economic and Monetary Union
13. Enlarging the EU
14. European Foreign Policies and the EU's 'new' Neighbourhood
15. EU Justice and Home Affairs Policies: Immigration, International Crime and Terrorism
16. Regions in the EU
17. European Security & Defence Policy
18. Conclusion and Exam Briefing

1. History or Theory? Understanding the EU
2. Where Does Power Lie: Commission, Council or Parliament?
3. Reform or Reject? The EU after Constitutional Failure
4. Enlargement: Where Does/Should Europe End?
5. European Foreign Policy: How Effective is It?
6. Justice & Home Affairs: Ensuring Internal Security or Constructing a 'Fortress Europe'?


The module aims to provide the knowledge for students to examine the history, concepts, institutions and policies of the EU, and thereby aim to give students a thorough grounding in the major political issues and problems the EU faces. This will enable students to critically analyse the role of the EU in national, regional and international politics.

Transferable skills

Students will develop, practice and test a range of transferable skills. Throughout, students will be required to practice and enhance their reading, comprehension and thinking skills. In lectures students will develop listening and note taking skills, as well as analytical skills. In seminars, students will participate in delivery of group presentations that will develop team working. These also foster listening, explaining and debating skills. Essay writing demands development of skills in independent research, writing and IT, and the examination will test skills of succinct and focussed writing, as well as clear organization of thought, under time constraint conditions.

10 ECTS credits

Reading List

General Text
(2007.) European Union politics /[edited by] Michelle Cini. 2nd ed. Oxford University Press Primo search Bache, Ian. (2006.) Politics in the European Union /Ian Bache, Stephen George. 2nd ed. Oxford University Press Primo search Nugent, Neill. (2006.) The government and politics of the European Union /Neill Nugent. 6th ed. Palgrave Macmillan Primo search


This module is at CQFW Level 6