Economics and Politics of the EU

ISA Seville Study Center

Course Description

  • Course Name

    Economics and Politics of the EU

  • Host University

    ISA Seville Study Center

  • Location

    Seville, Spain

  • Area of Study

    Economics, International Economics, Political Science

  • Language Level

    Taught In English

  • Prerequisites

    Recommended Prior Knowledge:

    This course requires basic knowledge of concepts, key actors and policies pertaining to the fields of Political Science, Economics, History and International Relations.

  • 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

  • Contact Hours

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

    USF Course Code: INR 4931

    Students: ISA students

    Contact hours: 45

    I. Course description: 
    To the common visitor, Europe is an inviting region for tourism, splendid museums and age-old monuments plus great restaurants. This course will introduce students to a different side of Europe: one that encompasses its tragic and contentious history; defined by 2.000 years of bloodshed, war and genocide that culminated in two of the most devastating wars that humanity has ever seen. We will examine how Europe rose up from the ashes of war to build a highly emulated political structure, along with the origins of the European Single Market and the single-currency monetary system (the euro). We will examine the Brexit endgame (due last Spring), and also focus on the current migration and political crisis of the EU, and its new political dynamics, defined by the rise of anti-EU populist parties across the continent.

    *Recommended prior knowledge: 
    Although it’s not mandatory, the students in this course will benefit if they have some previous basic knowledge of concepts, key actors and policies pertaining to the fields of Political Science, Economics, History and International Relations.

    II. Learning outcomes: 
    - Absorb the basics of European history, plus the history of the European integration process. 
    - Know the basics of the EU institutions and of European political dynamics, to be in a position to discuss the present-day crisis of the European project. 
    - Critically analyse advantages and disadvantages of EU membership: the pros and cons of Brexit. 
    - Understand European economic integration, and the workings of its main achievements –the Single Market and the Euro-- and to what extent both have design flaws that pose challenges to their very integrity and existence. 
    - Grasp the basic economic and political issues involved in the so called Brexit process, which should be reaching an outcome this Spring. 
    - Identify the main challenges the EU faces in terms of identity and cohesion, the current prospects for further economic and political union, plus a common foreign policy and (most relevant) a common immigration policy. 

    III. Course contents (order of content may be modified):

    PART I

    Unit 1: Why a European Union? History, Culture and Identity in Europe. Rationale for the European project. The rise of Europe from the ashes of WWII. The European Heritage as basis of a common identity. Historical antecedents of a united Europe. The intellectual antecedents of the European ideal. The European ethos. Europe’s complexity and diversity. Who are the Europeans? A quick survey of Europe’s 28 member countries. The fathers of Europe: Winston Churchill, Jean Monnet, Robert Schuman, Konrad Adenauer.

    Unit 2: The European Institutions. The European construction process: from the Schuman Declaration and the Treaty of Rome to the Maastricht Treaty and beyond. The three pillars of the EU. Timeline: History of European integration and enlargements. Who makes the decisions? The Commission, the Council and the European Parliament.

    Unit 3: Enlargement and accession policy. History of the successive enlargements and assessment of their impact.


    Unit 4: Economic integration I. The Single Market and Brexit. From the Common Market to the Single Market: we analyze the “four freedoms” (goods, services, capital and people) and the depths of economic integration which the Single Market entails. We take a look at Brexit and the dilemmas it creates for Europe’s second largest economy: can Britain retain access to the Single Market without giving up the Brexit referendum requirement to stop European free movement of people (immigration)?

    Unit 5: Economic integration II: The euro. The euro. EMU (Economic and Monetary Union). A detailed analysis of the introduction, impact and workings of the euro. The European Central Bank and monetary policy. The debt and banking crisis in the eurozone: its causes and dynamics. The European project at crossroads: can the euro survive?

    Unit 6: The pandemic crisis (2020) and the energy crisis (2022): the double unprecedented impacts of two consecutive “external shocks” provoked by Covid 19 and the Ukraine invasion have forced the EU into a permanent “crisis resolution mode”. How have the EU institutions responded and the core value and political procedure of “European solidarity” coped with these two shocking and unprecedented blows to the European economy?

    Unit 7: Economic integration III: The European Social Model. Employment and social policy. The Social Charter and the Union’s social legislation. The European workplace and labor markets: the Anglo-Saxon and continental models. Europe’s Social Model in a globalized economy.


    Unit 8: Justice and Home Affairs: Immigration policy. The Schengen Agreements: judicial, police and customs cooperation. Asylum and immigration policy: the challenge of a multicultural society. The European refugee crisis from 2015 to the present.

    Unit 9: The political dynamics of Europe: The populist and nationalist tide threatening the EU. The political dynamics of a Europe in crisis: a) the Eurozone conundrum: Northern creditor nations versus Southern debtor nations; b) nationalist/populist anti-immigration Eastern States (Hungary, Poland) + Italy versus integrationists and pro open-Europe states; and c) the way forward: Fiscal and Political Union. Are Europeans ready for a United States of Europe?

    Unit 10: Common Foreign and Security Policy: the war in Ukraine. Russia’s invasion has upended Europe’s assumptions about the world. The need for a more active and flexible (majority vote) Foreign and Security Policy, plus plans to bring forward a European Army, along with new thinking on “strategic autonomy” in military terms vis-à-vis the US and NATO, and the urgent need to achieve “energy security” (oil and gas) from Russia, are all now urgent concerns. Are Europeans being pushed towards a United States of Europe faster than they thought possible?

    IV. Course Material and Bibliography: 
    Course dossier (a collection of reading materials compiled by your lecturer). 

    Complementary bibliography:

    -    Tony Judt, Postwar. A History of Europe since 1945, Penguin Press, 2005.
    -    Simon Mercado, Richard Welford and Kate Prescott. European Business. Fourth Edition by Pearson Education Limited (Finantial Times, Prentice Hall), 2001. Harlow, England (U.K.).
    -    Jeremy Rifkin, The European Dream: How Europe’s Vision of the Future is Quietly Eclipsing the American Dream, Polity Press, Cambridge, 2004.
    -    Enrique Barón, Europa: Pasión y Razón, Biblioteca Nueva, S.L. 2005.
    -    Ulrick Beck and Edgar Grande, Cosmopolitan Europe, Polity Press, Cambridge, 2007.
    -    Jorge Semprún, Pensar en Europa, Tusquets, Barcelona, 2006.
    -    Zygmunt Bauman, Europe: an Unfinished Adventure, Polity Press, Cambridge, 2004.

    V.I. How to succeed in this course
    To successfully complete this course, attendance is essential as enables the necessary participation. Both spontaneous and prepared interaction are categories used in the evaluation.
    Due to the variety of topics covered in this course, come prepared. Listening to lectures, watching videos and participating in class activities and discussions is much more effective than reading someone else’s notes or watching a video later. Remember that active and meaningful participation is taken into account as part of the evaluation. Reading prior to the class sessions is essential to keep track of the course due to all the material that will be covered and the pace. 
    Becoming an active learner is one of the best ways to finish successfully this course: come always prepared to class: use the syllabus to be aware about will be covered or due in class, do all assignments before class, review before the class and be organized. 

    VI. Grading scale
    Final grades will be calculated according to the following scale:

    Grading Scale (%)
    94-100 A
    90-93 A-
    87-89 B+
    84-86 B
    80-83 B-
    77-79 C+
    74-76 C
    70-73 C-
    67-69 D+
    64-66 D
    60-63 D-
    0-59 F

    Grade dispute: 
    The deadline for claiming grades is 30 days from the receipt of the certificate at the university of origin.

    VII. Course policies

    VII.I. Attendance
    Class attendance is mandatory and is taken every class day and reflected in the course attendance sheet. 
    An 85% attendance rate is required for the successful completion of the course. Perfect attendance will be taken positively into account in the participation section. 
    If a student exceeds this limit, 1 point will be taken off of the final grade (Spanish grade). Reaching a 20% of unexcused absences means that the transcript for this subject will show “not attended course”. 
    Excused absences: Medical Certificates that will be considered only if issued by a physician (not notes from the family explaining the student’s absence). The certificates must include the exact dates for which a student should be excused for having missed classes. Courses cannot be audited, so attendance is possible only for students enrolled in a specific class. 
    Punctuality: Students are expected to arrive on time to class and to return directly to class after class breaks. Arriving 10 minutes late (or more) and/or early class departures are considered unexcused absences and will be taken into account as half an absence. 
    Attending class is not only the presence in the classroom. The professor will encourage active participation in the course and it will be taken into account as part of the evaluation.  

    Auditors: Courses cannot be taken as auditors, thus attendance is possible only for students enrolled in a specific class.

    VII.II. Conduct in class
    Students who actively participate in classroom activities and who maintain a professional and respectful attitude will be evaluated positively. Students must not eat or use laptops during the class (unless specifically authorized by the teacher).  

    VII.III. Late work 
    One half point will be taken off (from the learning activities grade) for homework that is submitted late repeatedly. Late assignments will be corrected but will not be graded. 
    Missing a class does not release the student from completing the homework assigned or studying the topics covered in class that day.

    VII.IV. Make-up Exams
    If a student cannot be present for an examination for a valid reason (see V.II.) and approved by the professor and academic direction, a make-up exam will be given.

    VII.V. Exam retention
    After exams are graded, the teacher will review the examination with the class and collect all exams. The exams will be retained for one semester following the current one, and then they will be destroyed.

    VII.VI. Academic Honesty
    Students are expected to act in accordance with their university standards of conduct concerning plagiarism and academic dishonesty.

    VII.VII. Special accommodations 
    Students with special needs who require reasonable accommodations, special assistance or specific aid in this course (either for properly making-up classes, taking exams, etc.) should direct their request to Academic Coordination during the first days of the course.

    Teaching staff is required to report any disclosures harassment or violence of any kind.

Course Disclaimer

Please note that there are no beginning level Spanish courses offered in this program.

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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