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COURSE NAME: "Institutions and Policies of the European Union"
SEMESTER & YEAR: Fall 2023

INSTRUCTOR: Eszter Salgo
EMAIL: [email protected]
HOURS: TTH 10:00 AM 11:15 AM
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). Inspired by the interpretative and reflexive traditions and methodologies of the social sciences, throughout the course students will attribute attention to popular culture (in particular to its visual and emotional dimensions).


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, democratic backsliding in EU member states, etc.

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

·         view images (and the absence of images) critically (defend themselves against deception and manipulation)

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

Book TitleAuthorPublisherISBN numberLibrary Call NumberCommentsFormatLocal BookstoreOnline Purchase
The European Union: How Does It Work?KenealyOxford University Press9780198807490     

Class participation Students are expected to read the assigned chapters/articles, show interest/curiosity in EU politics and participate in class discussions with thoughtful comments. 15%
Oral presentationStudents are expected to conduct a research on a topic of their choice, give a (powerful, informative, clear and thought-provoking!) 10-minute-long presentation and submit their bibliography (in APA citation style). 25%
Midterm examThe midterm exam consists of test questions with a focus on the topics covered in the first half of the semester. 20%
Final examThe final exam (cumulative!) consists of 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.40%

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

Tuesday: Introduction

Thursday: Using verbal and visual sources


Week 2

Tuesday: History of the idea of Europe

Reading: Nicholas Doumanis (2016) Europe’s Age of Catastrophe in Context, In The Oxford Handbook of European History, 1914-1945 and R. Petri (2018) Meanings of Europe and Meaning in History

Thursday: Plans about a federal Europe from the interwar period

Reading: 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

Friday (Make-up day for November 23) Understanding the EU from different theoretical perspectives

Reading: Textbook Chapter 1


Week 3

Tuesday: The history of the integration process

Reading: Textbook Chapter 2

Thursday: EU institutions

Reading: Textbook Chapter 3


Week 4

Tuesday: EU members states

Reading: Textbook Chapter 4

Thursday: Decision-making and policies

Reading: Textbook Chapter 5 and 7


Week 5

Tuesday: Democracy in the EU

Reading: Textbook Chapter 6

Thursday: No class (make-up class TBC)


Week 6

Tuesday: The EU’s public diplomacy

Visit to the EU multimedia center

Thursday: EU enlargements

Reading: Textbook Chapter 9 plus K. Wolczuk (2023) Overcoming EU Accession Challenges in Eastern Europe: Avoiding Purgatory


Week 7

Tuesday: Brexit

Reading: P. Norris (2018) Understanding Brexit: Cultural Resentment versus Economic Grievances,

Thursday: EU as a global actor

Reading: Textbook Chapter 8


Week 8

Tuesday: Review

Thursday: Midterm


Week 9

Tuesday: EU-Russia

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

Thursday: EU-Russia

Reading: Carnegie Europe (2023) Ukraine Has Not Transformed EU Foreign Policy plus Atlantic Council (2023), In 2022, the war in Ukraine awakened Europe. Here’s how it must adapt in 2023


Week 10

Tuesday: Transatlantic relations

Reading: ECFR (2023) The art of vassalisation: How Russia’s war on Ukraine has transformed transatlantic relations, ISPI (2023) Cooperation and Integration: Why Vilnius is also about EU

Thursday: Refugees

Reading: European Council on Foreign Relations (2019) All at sea: Europe’s crisis of solidarity on migration plus Chatham House (2022) Cooperation and Integration: Why Vilnius is also about EU


Week 11

Tuesday: OP

Thursday: OP


Week 12

Tuesday: Identity politics. Mythical narratives

Reading: Salgò (2017) Images from Paradise: the European Union’s Visual Communications Strategy, Part I

Thursday: Thanksgiving Holiday (make-up day Friday, Sept. 15)


Week 13

Tuesday: Identity politics. Symbols

Salgò (2017) Images from Paradise: the European Union’s Visual Communications Strategy, Part II

Thursday: Identity politics. Rituals

Salgò (2017) Images from Paradise: the European Union’s Visual Communications Strategy, Part III


Week 14

Tuesday: what Future for the EU?

Thursday: review