21 July 2017
What's wrong with European Politics: the end of just the beginning of Europe in decline
The last decade went from bad to worse for the European Union and its 28 member states: in 2005, two of its founding members rejected the constitutional treaty that was aiming towards a United States of Europe; in 2008, the Eurozone-crisis nearly brought the EU on the brink of collapse over the Greek bailout; for a year now, “Brexit” as the first time a country aiming to leave the Union is dominating European discourses, while everywhere lese nationalism and populism are said to return to the European continent, with citizens increasingly contesting the very idea of European cooperation and integration. Is this the slow death of the European Union, or are those crises driving European cooperation forward?
In this two-weeks course we are investigating the state of political affairs in Europe. We aim to understand the difficulties of European leaders to respond to current crises in Europe and the subsequent discontent of European citizens, but will also critically question if and how crises in Europe are a popular construct rather than a political reality. In order to gain a better understanding for the state of European politics, we are going to take a comparative perspective over time and look at crises in the past 50 years of European integration; we will look into the institutional complexities of the European Union, and discuss the unique features of this political system. In the second week, we will research various selected European crises in Europe in order to draw a comprehensive conclusion about the state of political affairs in Europe.
The learning mode is going to vary between short lectures, active assignment tasks, quizzes, and work in subgroups. Active participation is going to be key. The course is going to be assessed via participation, two multiple-choice quizzes, and a poster presentation that we are going to work on during week 2.
After the successful completion of this course, students
• Understand and are able to interpret European politics, and especially evaluate the unusual institutional structure of the European Union and the particular role of its member states.
• Are able to contrast the impact of various crises (Eurozone crisis, politics crisis, return of populism/nationalism etc) on European integration over time and understand the implications of those crises on Europe´s future.
• Are equipped with simple conceptual, theoretical but also empirical tools for independent analysis and research on European and European Union issues.
EUR 800: Course