Policy-making in the EU - PO612

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Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2020 to 2021
(version 2)
Spring 6 15 (7.5) DR J O'Mahony checkmark-circle


Since 2009, the European Union (EU) has grappled with a crisis in the Eurozone, a refugee crisis, terrorist attacks in France, Belgium and the UK, the rise of challenger parties, heightened tension with Putin's Russia, the UK’s Brexit decision and rule of law disputes with Hungary and Poland. This has led to increased questioning of the purpose and trajectory of European integration and policy-making. 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, economic and monetary union, environmental policy, agriculture policy, regional policy, justice and home affairs policy (internal security), foreign policy and trade policy. As well as analysing the effectiveness of EU policy-making in these policy areas, where appropriate we also explore the impact of ongoing political events on their operation.


This module appears in the following module collections.

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%

Indicative reading

Cini, Michelle and Nieves Perez-Solorzano Borragan. Eds. 2016. European Union Politics. Fifth Edition. Oxford University Press: Oxford
Wallace, H., M. Pollack and A.R. Young. 2015. Policy-Making in the European Union. Seventh Edition. Oxford University Press: Oxford.
Dinan, D. et.al. 2017. The European Union in Crisis, Palgrave: London.

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

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.


  1. Credit level 6. Higher level module usually taken in Stage 3 of an undergraduate degree.
  2. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  3. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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