Politics of the European Union - PO611

Location Term Level Credits (ECTS) Current Convenor 2019-20
Canterbury Autumn
View Timetable
5 15 (7.5) DR J O'Mahony







The purpose of this module is to introduce students to the negotiation system that is the EU, how it has evolved politically and institutionally since its creation, how it works, both in theory and in practice and the key political challenges it faces. Students gain an in-depth understanding of the dynamics of European integration over time and the politics behind this new and experimental process of transnational cooperation. Students also analyse the functioning and roles of the EU's main institutional bodies, investigate how EU legislation is produced and implemented and how the various political actors with a stake in EU-decision-making interact both formally and informally. Finally, the module addresses key political questions underpinning EU politics in these challenging times, including political support for the EU amongst its citizens and the phenomenon of Euroscepticism; the UK’s relationship with the EU before and after the Brexit vote; the EU’s underlying democratic legitimacy and debates on its future development.


This module appears in:

Contact hours

Total contact hours: 22
Private study hours: 128
Total study hours: 150

Method of assessment

50% coursework (2 equally weighted multiple choice question quizes (20%), Essay of 2500 words (30%)), 50% exam (2hr)

Indicative reading

Cini, M. and N. Perez-Solorzano Borragan. Eds. 2013. European Union Politics. Fourth Edition. Oxford University Press: Oxford.
Hix, S. and B Hoyland. 2011. The Political System of the European Union. Third Edition. Palgrave: Basingstoke.
Nugent, N. 2010. The Government and Politics of the European Union. Seventh Edition. Palgrave: Basingstoke.

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the module, students will:
- be familiar with and understand the main constitutional and governmental structures of today’s European Union;
- be able to analyse and critically assess the origins and effects of these structures, by using the conceptual and theoretical tools of comparative politics, international relations and relevant sources;
- appreciate and be able to explain the changing nature of the political process in the European Union and the role played by political parties, interest groups, social movements and public opinion;
- be able to assess the role and influence of states on the political process of the EU;
- be able to interpret and critically evaluate the main issues in the contemporary political debate in the EU.

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