POL 209 Intro to the European Union

  • PLEASE NOTE: this abridged outline is an example description of the course, from past years. Instructors can change elements of the course year-to-year.

    COURSE PREREQUISITES: There are no prerequisites for this course.

    COURSE OBJECTIVES: The student learns the history, structure and activity of the European Union, a significant regional inter-governmental organization as well as an unprecedented form of governance in an increasingly globalized political environment. Students explore the structure, institutions and operations of the European Union from the perspective of the individual state members, the institutional EU as a whole, and from the viewpoint of international organizations and non-member states (with particular emphasis on EU-Canada relations). Students also learn about other European institutions and their relationship to the European Union. Students then apply this knowledge to real-world challenges faced by the EU, using writing and presenting skills to demonstrate an understanding of the issues and to attempt to solve problems in a collective setting.

    REQUIRED TEXTS:  Edited by Michelle Cini and Nieves Perez-Solórzano Borragan (editors). European Union Politics (4th edition, Oxford: 2013)

    Supplementary readings supplied by instructor.


    1. RESEARCH PAPER. A written ‘diplomatic brief’ about an EU Member State and its role and relations within the European Union (worth 25% of the final grade).
    2. RESEARCH PAPER AND GROUP SEMINAR. A research paper on an on-going issue written from the perspective of an EU member state (e.g. enlargement, fiscal policy etc.), followed by a group presentation and seminar discussion of selected issues. Essay and seminar participation are components of the assignment for which there is a grade (worth 30% of the final grade)
    3. POSITION PAPER AND MODEL EU. Acting as a EU Council of Ministers, students will be presented with a topical issue of relevance for the EU as a whole (examples: EU-Russia relations; free trade with Canada; Turkish accession; the Bologna Process; Arctic sovereignty, Climate negotiations, illegal immigration; etc.).  Each student will produce a position paper on the issue, from the perspective of their Member State. They will then participate in a Model EU Council, to discuss the issue and try to generate an outcome that is satisfactory for the EU as a whole (worth 30% of the final grade).
    4. PARTICIPATION (worth 10% of the total grade). 

    Note: Students who receive credit for POL 309 cannot receive credit for POL 209.