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COURSE NAME: "Institutions and Policies of the European Union"
SEMESTER & YEAR: Spring 2019

INSTRUCTOR: Eszter Salgo
EMAIL: [email protected]
HOURS: MW 3:00-4:15 PM
PREREQUISITES: Prerequisite: PL 223
OFFICE HOURS: By appointment

This course aims to provide students with a firm understanding of the origins, dynamics, institutions, and policies central to the process of European integration. In so doing, students will examine such issues as the relationship among the different EU institutions, and their relationships with the Member States, as well as EU trade, monetary, foreign, and security policies.


The first section of the course explores the history of the European integrations process, the current institutions and the policies of the European Union. The second part provides an in-depth look at the challenges that the organization faces today and includes class discussions focusing on questions such as: What factors drive European countries’ response to the refugee crisis? What does the proliferation of protest parties reveal about the nature of the integration process? How to explain the factors that led to the outcome of the Brexit referendum? What future for Transatlantic and EU-Russia relations? Has time come for a European Defense Union? The third section of the course explores the EU’s identity politics. Students will analyze the causes and the consequences of the organization’s legitimacy crisis and its “democratic deficit.” In particular, they will engage critically with the supranational elite’s attempt to deepen the integration process, build a strong community ‘based on shared values’ and shift citizens’ allegiance from the nation-state to the EU through the use of symbols, rituals and mythical constructions. Each student will present a case study (based on individual research) on one of the member states (illustrating the role it has been playing in the European Union and how citizens’ national and regional identities cohabit (or clash) with their European identity). 


At the end of the course students should be able to:

  • possess in-depth knowledge of the processes that have led to today’s European Union;

  • describe in detail the main actors, institutions and policies of the EU;

  • analyze the European integration process from different theoretical perspectives;

  • evaluate critically the role of the EU as a global actor;

  • understand how the enlargements have changed the nature of the organization;

  • engage critically with the federalist agenda that has been driving the integration process;

  • interpret the various forms that the EU’s identity politics has been taken

  • understand the causes and the possible consequences of the contemporary challenges facing the EU: refugee crisis, Brexit, the future of transatlantic and EU-Russia relations, etc.

  • illustrate the problems relating to democracy in and legitimacy of the EU

  • possess skills and ability to independently explore, present and discuss issues related to European integration, both orally and in writing.

Book TitleAuthorPublisherISBN numberLibrary Call NumberComments
Images from Paradise: The Visual Communication of the European Union's Federalist UtopiaSalgoBerghahn Books978-1-78533-618-8  
The European Union: How does it work?Daniel KenealyOxford University9780198807490  

Class attendance and participation in debatesClass attendance will be considered in combination with assessment of students’ active participation in general and specifically during the class debates. Students will not be penalized for two absences. If further absences are recorded, grade penalties will be applied. From one to four more absences will reduce the participation score by 5% for each absence. More than six total absences will result in the overall F.10%
Oral presentationEach student will present his/her review of a recently published academic book relating to the European Union in a 10 minute long oral presentation.15%
Term paperEach student has to submit a 2000-word review of a recently published academic book relating to the European Union by April 17. The title of the book should be communicated to the professor by Feb. 13.25%
Midterm examThe midterm exam consists of short and long essay questions. Students are graded on accuracy, depth of analysis, logical content, creative thinking, on their ability to formulate a sophisticated argument, provide evidence for their statements, discuss and show understanding of alternative explanations.15%
Final examIn terms of structure, the final exam is similar to the midterm exam. It is cumulative.35%

AWork of this quality directly addresses the question or problem raised and provides a coherent argument displaying an extensive knowledge of relevant information or content. This type of work demonstrates the ability to critically evaluate concepts and theory and has an element of novelty and originality. There is clear evidence of a significant amount of reading beyond that required for the cour
BThis is highly competent level of performance and directly addresses the question or problem raised.There is a demonstration of some ability to critically evaluatetheory and concepts and relate them to practice. Discussions reflect the student’s own arguments and are not simply a repetition of standard lecture andreference material. The work does not suffer from any major errors or omissions and provides evidence of reading beyond the required assignments.
CThis is an acceptable level of performance and provides answers that are clear but limited, reflecting the information offered in the lectures and reference readings.
DThis level of performances demonstrates that the student lacks a coherent grasp of the material.Important information is omitted and irrelevant points included.In effect, the student has barely done enough to persuade the instructor that s/he should not fail.
FThis work fails to show any knowledge or understanding of the issues raised in the question. Most of the material in the answer is irrelevant.



Class attendance is mandatory. Students will not be penalized for two absences. If further absences are recorded, grade penalties will be applied. From one to four more absences will reduce the participation score by 5% for each absence. More than six total absences will result in the overall F.

You cannot make-up a major exam (midterm or final) without the permission of the Dean’s Office. The Dean’s Office will grant such permission only when the absence was caused by a serious impediment, such as a documented illness, hospitalization or death in the immediate family (in which you must attend the funeral) or other situations of similar gravity. Absences due to other meaningful conflicts, such as job interviews, family celebrations, travel difficulties, student misunderstandings or personal convenience, will not be excused. Students who will be absent from a major exam must notify the Dean’s Office prior to that exam. Absences from class due to the observance of a religious holiday will normally be excused. Individual students who will have to miss class to observe a religious holiday should notify the instructor by the end of the Add/Drop period to make prior arrangements for making up any work that will be missed. The final exam period runs until ____________

As stated in the university catalog, any student who commits an act of academic dishonesty will receive a failing grade on the work in which the dishonesty occurred. In addition, acts of academic dishonesty, irrespective of the weight of the assignment, may result in the student receiving a failing grade in the course. Instances of academic dishonesty will be reported to the Dean of Academic Affairs. A student who is reported twice for academic dishonesty is subject to summary dismissal from the University. In such a case, the Academic Council will then make a recommendation to the President, who will make the final decision.
John Cabot University does not discriminate on the basis of disability or handicap. Students with approved accommodations must inform their professors at the beginning of the term. Please see the website for the complete policy.








Week 1

 -  Introduction

-  Reflections on 2018


-  2018 in pictures, New York Times, CNN, Bloomberg


Week 2

 -   History of the idea of Europe

- Plans about a federal Europe from the interwar period

 -  P. Boer (1995), The History of the Idea of Europe, Essay 1

-Delzell (1960), The European Federalist Movement in Italy: First Phase, 1918-1947 The Journal of Modern History, Vol. 32, No. 3, pp. 241-250; Villanueva (2005), Richard von Coudenhove-Kalergi's "Pan-Europa" as the Elusive "Object of Longing" Rocky Mountain Review of Language and Literature, Vol. 59, No. 2, pp. 67-80; Müller (2006) Julien Benda’s Anti-Passionate Europe, European Journal of Political Theory 5(2) 125–137


Week 3

 -   Understanding the EU from different theoretical perspectives

- The history of the integration process

-  Textbook, Chapter 1

 -  Textbook Chapter 2


Week 4


-   The institutions of the European Union 

-   The member states of the European Union

-    Feb. 15 Make-up class for Apr. 22 - Key policies in the European Union

 -  Textbook Chapter 3

-  Textbook Chapter 4

-  Textbook Chapter 5


Week 5

- The policymaking process in the European Union

-    Democracy in the European Union

 -  Textbook Chapter 6

-  Textbook Chapter 7


Week 6

-    EU expansion and wider Europe

-   The EU as a security actor

 -  Textbook Chapter 8

-   Textbook Chapter 9


Week 7

 -   Review

-   Midterm exam

- March 8 Make-up class for May 1 -   The EU as a global actor


-  Textbook Chapter 10


Week 8







Week 9

 -  Causes and consequences of the Brexit

-   The EU’s Response to the Refugee Crisis 

-  B. M. Uta Staige (ed.)(2018) Brexit and Beyond: Rethinking the Futures of Europe, UCL Press

 - B. Nagy (2017)Sharing the Responsibility or Shifting the Focus? The Responses of the EU and the Visegrad Countries to the Post-2015 Arrival of Migrants and Refugees;  M. Bordignon and S. Working Paper (IAI) Moriconi (2017) The case for a common European refugee policy


Week 10

 -    What Future for the EU-Russia Relations?


-    What Future for the Transatlantic Relations and the European Defense Strategy?

-   Andrew Foxall (2019) From Evropa to Gayropa: A Critical Geopolitics of the European Union as Seen from Russia, Geopolitics, 24:1, 174-193,Tania Marocchi (2017) EU-Russia Relations: Towards an Increasingly Geopolitical Paradigm

-    J. Shapiro (2017)The transatlantic meaning of Donald Trump: a US-EU Power Audit, European Council on Foreign Relations


Week 11

 Oral presentations

Oral presentations


Week 12

-   Purblic survey about the European Union 

-   The EU’s mythical narratives

-     Group project

- E. Salgó (2017) Images from Paradise: The Visual Communication of the European Union’s Federalist Utopia, New York: Berghahn Books, Introduction and Chapter I


Week 13

 -   The EU’s symbol politics

- Rituals in the EU’s symbol politics

 -   E. Salgó (2017) Chapter II 

-   E. Salgó (2017) Chapter III and  Concluding remarks


Week 14



-  What future for the EU?

-    S. Lehne,  H. Grabbe (December 2018) 2019 European Parliament Elections Will Change the EU’s Political Dynamics; Carnegie Endowment


Week 15

- Review