Policy-making in the EU - POLI6120

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Module delivery information

This module is not currently running in 2023 to 2024.


Since 2009, the European Union (EU) has been grappling with a crisis in the Eurozone, a refugee crisis, terrorist attacks, 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, how it is driven by both the politics and economics of its member states and the global system and how its policy-making capacity may evolve in the future. 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, how it is being managed by the UK and the EU27 and its implications for the future of the EU.


Contact hours

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

Method of assessment

* Reflective report, 1000 words, 20%
* Essay, 2500-3000 words, 30%
* Exam, 2 hours, 50%

Reassessment Instrument: 100% coursework

Indicative reading

* Cini, M. and N. Perez-Solorzano Borragan. Eds. 2016. European Union Politics. Fifth Edition. Oxford University Press: Oxford.

* Hix, S. and B Hoyland. 2018. The Political System of the European Union. Fourth Edition. Palgrave: Basingstoke.

* Wallace, H., M. Pollack and Young. Eds. 2015. Policy-Making in the European Union. Seventh Edition. Oxford University Press: Oxford.

* Nugent, N. 2017. The Government and Politics of the European Union. Eighth Edition. Palgrave: Basingstoke.

* Egan, M., N. Nugent and W.E. Paterson Eds. 2009. Research Agendas in EU Studies. Stalking the Elephant. Palgrave: Basingstoke.

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

1: 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

2: critically assess the EU's success in achieving its policy goals

3: understand the process of policy-making in the EU, from policy formulation and negotiation through to implementation

4: appreciate the challenges facing the EU and its policy-making process including debates on the future of the EU, the Brexit process, enlargement and developments in global politics

5: 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


  1. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  2. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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