Policy-making in the EU - PO612

Location Term Level Credits (ECTS) Current Convenor 2018-19
(version 2)
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6 15 (7.5) DR J O'Mahony


PO611 Politics of the European Union





Since 2009, the European Union (EU) has been grappling with a crisis in the Eurozone, a refugee crisis, terrorist attacks in France and Belgium, the rise of challenger parties and heightened tension with Putin's Russia. This has led to increased questioning of the purpose and trajectory of European integration and policy-making. The Brexit decision by the UK electorate in June 2016 plunged the EU further into crisis, sending shockwaves throughout the world as for the very first time an EU member state chose exit over voice or loyalty. Membership of the EU is now clearly contingent and the reverberations of this decision will affect both the EU and the UK for many years to come. The focus of this module is on assessing the capacity of the EU as a system of public policy-making as it faces these myriad challenges. In so doing we endeavour to understand how the EU’s system of governance works and how it is driven by both the politics and economics of its member states and the global system. This module focuses on the EU’s 'outputs’ in terms of public policy in this context, with particular attention paid to the fields of market regulation, monetary union, environmental policy, agriculture policy, regional policy, justice and home affairs, foreign policy and trade policy. As well as analysing the effectiveness of EU policy-making in these policy areas, we also evaluate the impact of Brexit on their operation, as well as the process of Brexit itself, how it is being managed by the UK and the EU27 and its implications for the future of the EU.


This module appears in:

Contact hours

150 hours including 11 hours lectures, 11 hours seminars; 128 study hours

Method of assessment

50% coursework (one 2,500-3,000 word essay and one reflective report based on participation in seminar simulation); 50% end of year examination.

Indicative reading

Cini, Michelle and Nieves Perez-Solorzano Borragan. Eds. 2016. European Union Politics. 5th edition. Oxford University Press: Oxford.
Wallace, H., M. Pollack and A. Young. Eds. 2015. Policy-making in the EU. 7th edition. Oxford University Press: Oxford.

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

See the library reading list for this module (Medway)

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the module, students will be able to:
- analyse and explain the development of the main policies of the European Union and in so doing have gained a thorough understanding of these policies;
- critically assess the EU’s success in achieving its policy goals;
- understand the process of policy-making in the EU, from policy formulation and negotiation through to implementation;
- appreciate the challenges facing the EU and its policy-making process as it has expanded from 15 to 28 members and beyond;
- engage critically with important political issues facing policy makers in the EU both at national and European levels and appreciate their consequences for future policy-making in the EU.

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