The European Union: Institutions and Policies

The details
Colchester Campus
Undergraduate: Level 5
Thursday 08 October 2020
Friday 18 December 2020
20 August 2020


Requisites for this module



Key module for

BA R9L2 European Studies with Politics,
BA R9L8 European Studies with Politics (Including Foundation Year)

Module description

The module offers an introduction to the most important aspects of the European Union. The first part of the module is introducing the institutional system of the EU and the relationship between the EU and its members. We will talk about the power and role of the main institutions and also look at the impact of states and their governments on European legislation and vice versa. This also includes a brief historical survey of the origins of European Integration and a discussion of the role that citizens play.

The second part of the module discusses policy-making in more detail. The sessions revolve around questions such as: In which areas is the EU involved? How are decisions made in these areas? This part of the module is also concerned with developments in particular policies.

In the class sessions,we will also discuss very specific issues. Examples may include the 'democratic deficit' and specific aspects of European economic policy. However, it has to be stressed that not all relevant aspects of the European Union and the integration process can be dealt with in depth.

Module aims

The module aims to provide students with a thorough knowledge and understanding of the European Union.

Module learning outcomes

On successful completion of the module, students should have an understanding of:

1. the important stages of European integration

2. the roles and powers of institutions in the European Union

3. the dynamics of public support for the European Union

4. policy areas where the European Union is particularly important

Module information

No additional information available.

Learning and teaching methods

This module will be delivered with (i) a weekly pre-recorded lecture and (ii) a weekly interactive lecture. The pre-recorded lecture will consist of one or more items of prepared content that students can access electronically and must study before the interactive lecture. The interactive lecture will consist of one 50-minute lecture in which students can ask questions about, and discuss various aspects of, the prepared content with the module supervisor.


  • McCormick, John. (2017) Understanding the European Union: a concise introduction, London: Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Moravcsik, A.1. (2002) 'Reassessing Legitimacy in the European Union.', in Journal of Common Market Studies. vol. 40 (4) , pp.603-624
  • Givens, Terri; Luedtke, Adam. (2004-02) 'The Politics of European Union Immigration Policy: Institutions, Salience, and Harmonization', in Policy Studies Journal. vol. 32 (1) , pp.145-165
  • Hix, Simon; Marsh, Michael. (2007-05) 'Punishment or Protest? Understanding European Parliament Elections', in The Journal of Politics. vol. 69 (2) , pp.495-510
  • Keleman, D. R. (2002-10) 'The Politics of 'Eurocratic' Structure and the New European Agencies', in West European Politics. vol. 25 (4) , pp.93-118
  • Hix, Simon; Hoyland, Bjorn. (2011) The political system of the European Union, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Arregui, Javier; Thomson, Robert. (2014-11) 'Domestic adjustment costs, interdependence and dissent in the Council of the European Union', in European Journal of Political Research. vol. 53 (4) , pp.692-708
  • Slapin, Jonathan B. (2015-05-04) 'How European Union Membership Can Undermine the Rule of Law in Emerging Democracies', in West European Politics. vol. 38 (3) , pp.627-648
  • FOLLESDAL, ANDREAS; HIX, SIMON. (2006-09) 'Why There is a Democratic Deficit in the EU: A Response to Majone and Moravcsik', in JCMS: Journal of Common Market Studies. vol. 44 (3) , pp.533-562
  • Treib, Oliver. (2014) 'Implementing and complying with EU governance outputs', in Living Reviews in European Governance. vol. 9
  • Pollack, Mark A. (2005-06-15) 'THEORIZING THE EUROPEAN UNION: International Organization, Domestic Polity, or Experiment in New Governance?', in Annual Review of Political Science. vol. 8 (1) , pp.357-398
  • George Tsebelis and Geoffrey Garrett. (2001) 'The Institutional Foundations of Intergovernmentalism and Supranationalism in the European Union', in International Organization. vol. 55 (2) , pp.357-390
  • Rodden, Jonathan. (2002-06) 'Strength in Numbers?', in European Union Politics. vol. 3 (2) , pp.151-175
  • R. Daniel Kelemen. (no date) 'Regulatory Federalism: EU Environmental Regulation in Comparative Perspective', in Journal of Public Policy. vol. 20 (2) , pp.133-167
  • Feldstein, Martin. (2005-6) 'The euro and the stability pact', in Journal of Policy Modeling. vol. 27 (4) , pp.421-426
  • Alter, Karen J. (1998-12) 'Who Are the “Masters of the Treaty”?: European Governments and the European Court of Justice', in International Organization. vol. 52 (01) , pp.121-147
  • Hix, Simon; Høyland, Bjørn. (2013-05-11) 'Empowerment of the European Parliament', in Annual Review of Political Science. vol. 16 (1) , pp.171-189
  • Wonka, Arndt. (2008-12) 'Decision-making dynamics in the European Commission: partisan, national or sectoral?', in Journal of European Public Policy. vol. 15 (8) , pp.1145-1163

The above list is indicative of the essential reading for the course. The library makes provision for all reading list items, with digital provision where possible, and these resources are shared between students. Further reading can be obtained from this module's reading list.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Weighting
Coursework   Online Test    40% 
Coursework   Essay    60% 

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
100% 0%


Coursework Exam
100% 0%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Dr Svenja Krauss, email: svenja.krauss@essex.ac.uk.
Dr. Svenja Krauss
Module Supervisor: Dr. Svenja Krauss - svenja.krauss@essex.ac.uk / Module Administrator: Lewis Olley - govquery@essex.ac.uk



External examiner

Dr Arzu Kibris
University of Warwick
Associate Professor
Available via Moodle
Of 535 hours, 0 (0%) hours available to students:
535 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
0 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s).


Further information

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