The European Union (in English)

Universidad Pablo de Olavide

Course Description

  • Course Name

    The European Union (in English)

  • Host University

    Universidad Pablo de Olavide

  • Location

    Seville, Spain

  • Area of Study

    Economics, International Economics, International Relations, International Studies, Political Science

  • Language Level

    Taught In English

  • Course Level Recommendations


    ISA offers course level recommendations in an effort to facilitate the determination of course levels by credential evaluators.We advice each institution to have their own credentials evaluator make the final decision regrading course levels.

    Hours & Credits

  • ECTS Credits

  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
  • Overview

    Course Description

    After initially situating the students within the context of the present EU of 27 members, the course begins by offering the students an historical overview of the motives and often conflictual forces lying behind the creation and subsequent development of the EU, best reflected in the main treaties signed. Policy-making is notoriously complex in the EU. Getting to grips with it demands a clear understanding of the role and responsibilities of its principal institutions and how they interact with each other (and national governments), to produce hybrid ‘supranational’ laws/policy initiatives; a complex policy process, which of course, is not without its many detractors.

    At the heart of the EU is the Single Market and its connected Competition Policy. As regional/global social forces pushed the four freedoms and deepened the process of economic integration pressure for Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) increased. How and why the member states chose to abandon their currencies in favor of an untested common currency needs to be examined, as do the structural challenges facing the ongoing management of the eurozone (especially pertinent during the present debt crisis), and the euro’s effects both on the region and the international monetary system at large.  

    Yet the EU is more than just an ‘economic club’; the process of economic integration “spilling-over” into a wide range of connected nominally “political” policy areas, which, the EU claims, have improved the quality of life of EU citizens. But not all citizens are convinced of the virtues of this deepening integration. The “freedom of movement of people”, especially, has been vilified by the popularist Right (which in turn has seen its support increase), constituting a key rallying point, amongst others, for the Brexit referendum.

    Britain’s departure from the EU evidently constitutes one of the biggest challenges the organization has ever faced. This course will study how this came about, the dynamic of the ‘divorce’ negotiations, and the possible future for UK-EU relations. 

    The EU’s place in globalized post-Cold War world is then addressed, comprising of a review of the region’s external trade relations (special attention being paid to transatlantic commerce) and evolving common foreign and security policy and how this relates to NATO, especially following the outbreak of war in Ukraine.  

    Finally, the course seeks to shed light on the dynamics of EU enlargement: the criteria, costs and benefits, institutional process etc. It focuses especially on the eastward expansions from 2004 onwards – analysing the socio-economic, politico-juridical and logistical challenges posed for ‘old’ and ‘young’ members alike – and the present situation with candidate countries. One of those, Turkey, will be singled out and its credentials for possible future incorporation into the EU be assessed. 


    Course Objectives

    The aim of this course is that on its completion students will have a much better understanding of the interests, ‘identity’ and functioning of, not to mention challenges faced by, the EU, both as a geographical regional polity, and as a highly complex ongoing – though not uncontested – process of economic, political and social integration.



    Given the course objectives stated above, and the highly complex nature of the subject matter, the course adopts multidisciplinary approach: historical, geographical and cultural aspects considered necessary accompaniments to the main politico-economic framework adopted.


    Course Requirements and Grading

    The distribution of the final grade is the following:  

    Quiz    15%

    Midterm Exam   25%

    Presentation   15%

    Final Exam (TBA)  25%

    Participation  20% 



    Required text book: McCormick, John, Understanding the European Union: a Concise Introduction, 8th Edition (Basingstoke, Hampshire, Palgrave Macmillan, 2020). 


    Class Schedule

    (This is only a general guide and may be subject to change)

    WEEK 1: January 25th

    • Presentation of course;
    • EU Geography

    WEEK 2: January 30th/February 1st

    • Explaining the beginning of European integration
    • ‘Progress’ in the 1950s

    WEEK 3: February 6th/8th

    • Single European Act
    • Treaty of Maastricht

    WEEK 4: February 13th/15th

    • Developments Post-Maastricht I
    • Developments Post-Maastricht II

    WEEK 5: February 20th/22nd

    • QUIZ + Debate
    • Functioning of EU Institutions I

    WEEK 6: February 27th/March 1st

    • Functioning of EU Institutions II
    • Law-making in the EU

    WEEK 7: March 6th/8 th

    • Principles, policy environment & policy cycle
    • Features of the policy process

    WEEK 8: March 13th/15th

    • Beginnings of Economic & Monetary Union (EMU)

    WEEK 9: March 20th/22nd

    • Maastricht, stages, criteria & launch of EMU
    • Functioning & management of eurozone

    WEEK 10: March 27th/29th

    • Eurozone crisis and beyond
    • Competition Policy & the Single Market

    WEEK 11: April 3 rd/5th

    • No Classes (Semana Santa)

    WEEK 12: April 10th/12th

    • Common Agricultural Policy
    • Brexit

    WEEK 13: April 17th/19th

    • External Trade Policy
    • Transatlantic Trade
    • Foreign & Security Policy I

    WEEK 14: April 24th/26th

    • No Classes (Feria de Abril)

    WEEK 15: May 1st/3rd

    • No Class (Workers’ Day)
    • Foreign & Security Policy II

    WEEK 16: May 8 th/10 th

    • Enlargement I: Process; Pros/Cons; Candidates
    • Enlargement II: Turkey

    Final Exam: May 12th -17th

Course Disclaimer

Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.

Eligibility for courses may be subject to a placement exam and/or pre-requisites.

Availability of courses is based on enrollment numbers. All students should seek pre-approval for alternate courses in the event of last minute class cancellations


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