EU Politics and Governance (Brussels) - PO949

Location Term Level Credits (ECTS) Current Convenor 2018-19
(version 2)
View Timetable
7 20 (10) DR V Musliu







The course has a double focus. First, it deals with the formal role of institutions and actors in the EU. Secondly, it focuses on the politics and governance structures in the EU. It looks into power and influence, interests, coalition formation, balancing, bargaining, policy networks and multilevel governance, as well as issues of identity and perception. During seminars a case of EU legislation is being studied, so that students learn to apply different concepts and approaches to a specific case. Moreover, by studying the chronological development of this case through the stages of the policy cycle, students come to grips with both the formal competencies and political factors that influence the process. The course is concluded by a research-based simulation game at COREPER level. Students play the role of member states. For the simulation students have to do autonomous research to prepare their national position, giving the exercise a new dimension. The purpose is for students to be able to retrieve and analyse relevant information and to understand the practicalities of decision-making, it complexity and political character.

Indicative overview

1. EU politics in context 1: the historical perspective
2. EU politics in context 2: the nature of EU policies
3. EU core institutions
4. Theories of European integration
5. Theories of governance
6. The policy cycle
7. Power and influence
8. Coalitions and balancing
9. Inter and intra-institutional relations
10. Cleavages
11. The debate on the democratic deficit
12. Research-based simulation game: COREPER meeting on the directive on patient mobility


This module appears in:


Autumn Term

Method of assessment

1. Course work (80%): Students write one essay of approximately 5000 words in which they analyse one policy or institutional issue in depth
2. Simulation exercise (20%): Students participate in a simulation of a Council or COREPER meeting and play the role of one member state. They prepare a two page briefing note containing the position and negotiation strategy of their member state.

Indicative reading

Neill Nugent, The Government and Politics of the European Union. Palgrave McMillan, 2006.
Michelle Cini (ed.), European Union Politics. Oxford University Press, 2006.
Simon Hix & Bjorn Hoyland, The Political System of the European Union. Palgrave McMillan, 2011.
Mette Eilstrup-Sangiovanni (ed.), Debates on European Integration. A Reader. Palgrave McMillan, 2006.
Desmond Dinan, Europe Recast. A History of European Union. Pagrave McMillan, 2004
Wiener A., Diez T. (ed.), European Integration Theory. Oxford University Press, 2004.
Wallace W., Wallace H., Pollack M. (eds.), Policy-making in the European Union. Oxford University Press, 2005.
Featherstone, K. and C.M. Radaelli (eds) The Politics of Europeanization. Oxford University Press, 2003.
Paolo Graziano & Maarten Vink, Europeanization. New Research Agendas. Palgrave McMillan, 2006
Simon Bulmer & Christian Lequesne (eds.), The Member States of the European Union. Oxford University Press, 2005 .

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

See the library reading list for this module (Medway)

Learning outcomes

The intended subject specific learning outcomes and, as appropriate, their relationship to programme learning outcomes

This course seeks to give students an advanced understanding of the functioning of the European institutions and politics of EU policy-making. It offers students the necessary tools to analyse EU policy-making and governance, political and institutional matters, decision-making procedures and issues of power and influence.

On successful completion of the module, students will be able
SLO1: to understand and explain the EU institutional framework, in particular inter-institutional relations and multi-level relations
SLO2: to appreciate EU policy-making as a diverse and complex set of interactions between different formal and informal actors and analyse it in terms of governance, networks, power and influence
SLO3: to understand and critically assess the main political factors at work in the EU
SLO4: to apply theories of European integration;
SLO5: to have a profound understanding of decision-making procedures within the EU
SLO6: to develop good negotiation and communication skills
SLO7: to have a good understanding of the core concepts of European integration

By helping students to progress towards these subject-specific outcomes, the module contributes to achieving the following Programme Learning Outcomes (PLO):
A1. key historical and philosophical issues in the development of European policy, together with familiarity with appropriate bibliographical sources (SLO 2, 7);
A2. the main legal, economic, and political parameters and dilemmas of policymaking in the EU (SLO 1, 2, 3, 5);
A3. how to apply general theoretical and conceptual frameworks to the analysis of specific issues and problems in domestic, regional, and international settings (SLO 4, 7);
A4. how to utilise qualitative and quantitative research methods and evaluate critically their application in the scholarly literature and in policy papers (SLO 1, 3, 5);
A5. how to design and conduct a research project demonstrating awareness of epistemological and methodological principles appropriate to the subject of that research project (SLO 2, 3, 6); to carry out an independent research project and write in a scholarly manner demonstrating familiarity with academic conventions (SLO 3, 6)

The intended generic learning outcomes and, as appropriate, their relationship to programme learning outcomes
Students who successfully complete this module:
GLO1: will be able to work with theoretical knowledge and apply theory to practical issues
GLO2: will be aware of the ethical dimensions of the scholarly work done in their discipline in general as well as in their own work
GLO3: will be able to undertake analysis of complex, incomplete or contradictory areas of knowledge and make carefully constructed arguments
GLO4: will have a level of conceptual understanding that will allow them to critically evaluate research, policies, and practices
GLO5: will be reflective and self-critical in their work
GLO6: will be able to use the internet, bibliographic search engines, online resources, and effectively conduct research
GLO7: will be able to engage in academic and professional communication with others
GLO8: will have independent learning ability required for further study or professional work

By helping students to progress towards these generic learning outcomes, the module contributes to achieving the general aims of our graduate programmes, which aim to:
• Provide the tools to evaluate different interpretations of world political events and issues;
• Communicate effectively and fluently in speech and writing;
• Use communication and information technology for the retrieval and presentation of information;
• Identify, investigate, analyse, formulate and advocate solutions to problems;
• Develop reasoned arguments, synthesise relevant information and exercise critical judgement
• Work independently, demonstrating initiative, self-organisation and time-management

University of Kent makes every effort to ensure that module information is accurate for the relevant academic session and to provide educational services as described. However, courses, services and other matters may be subject to change. Please read our full disclaimer.