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European Union Politics B

Module Code: POU33082

Module Name: European Union Politics B 2019-20

  • ECTS Weighting: 5
  • Semester/Term Taught: Semester 2
  • Contact Hours: 2 lectures per week; 1 tutorial per fortnight
  • Module Personnel: Lecturer - Dr. Michele Crepaz
  • Office Hours: TBA or by appointment.

Learning Outcomes

This course offers the opportunity to students to apply the analytical tools obtained in fresher years to the context of European Union politics. At the end of this course it is expected that students will have a detailed understanding of the EU political system and its mechanisms. Students will not only have the tools to critically analyse latest events in EU politics, but also be able to assess cutting edge research on the EU’s contemporary challenges.

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Module Learning Aims

This course is aimed at those aiming at a comprehensive knowledge of the contemporary EU landscape. We will explore the EU’s institutional structure, the elements of its political systems and they way these elements interact with each other. Particular attention will be given to the role of EU political institutions, national governments, political parties, public opinion and interest groups in EU policy-making. This approach will provide students with a useful key for the understanding of broad political processes, such as the process of European integration and its challenges (e.g. Brexit; democratic deficit); and of more specific mechanisms related to different EU policy domains, including economic, competition, trade, social, and foreign policy areas.

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Module Content

The European Union (EU) has evolved from a loose international organization into a full-fledged political system. With its policy and budget, this political community deeply affects the daily lives of more than half a billion citizens. Its status of the world’s second-largest economy has important influences on the international balance of power. Its institutional and economic development throughout the 20th and 21st century has created both positive effects for its member states and posed serious challenges to modern politics. The understanding of these mechanisms is crucial for any scholar in social science and of interest to any citizen.

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Recommended Reading List

Essential Readings:
The course relies heavily on academic journal articles, which will be listed on the syllabus. These readings are available electronically, through the TCD library ( However, some of the key readings will be made available on BLACKBOARD.

We will also use textbooks, copies of which can be found in the college library. The following textbooks will be particularly useful throughout the course and are recommended for purchase:

  • Chari R., and S. Kritzinger, Understanding EU Policy Making (Pluto, 2006).
  • Hix S., and Byorn Høyland, The Political System of the EU, 3rd ed. (Palgrave: 2011)
  • Cini M., and Perez-Solorzano Borragan, N. (eds.) European Union Politics, 5th edition (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016).
  • Greenwood, J. (2017). Interest representation in the European Union. Macmillan International Higher Education.

Recommended Readings:
In addition to the essential readings required for each topic, a series of recommended readings are also included. These readings are useful for those who wish to explore a particular topic in more detail. They will also be very useful when approaching the essay assignment, for which students are required to demonstrate a more in-depth understanding of the chosen topic. A complete list will be available on the course syllabus provided by the lecturer on Blackboard.

In addition to these readings, students should keep up to date on current European affairs by reading daily newspapers, or one of the many websites devoted to EU politics.

These websites include the following:

Websites of NGOs monitoring EU politics

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Assessment Details

Students are required to submit an essay, which accounts for 25% of the overall grade for the course and an annual exam at the end of the second semester (Hilary Term), which accounts for 75% of the overall grade. Details are available on the course syllabus and will be discussed in class in due course.

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