Loading...

POLSC323: European Politics

Unit 2: The European Union   In this unit, we will explore the institutions and policies of the European Union.  The European Union represents the collective economic and political effort of 27 member states as of the inclusion of Bulgaria and Romania in 2007.  However, the European continent is largely represented by the EU as a political and economic whole in that all European states have some degree of connection to this supranational entity though not all states in Europe are members.  As the EU moves, so does Europe as a whole, with a few notable exceptions (namely, Russia and Turkey).

Of course, the history of the EU does not begin in the present.  In this unit, you will find that the idea of a modern Europe largely began in the ashes of what was discussed in Unit 1: The Peace of Westphalia, the development of the nation-state, and the wars of centuries of attempted Empire.  After the end of World War II, a new idea of what Europe could be began to develop, marking the beginnings of the peaceful integration of the continent.  This modern start surfaced with the 1952 European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) and continued on until its present condition. 

In Unit 2, we will first look at the expansion and growth of European cooperation and the direction that growth may take in the future.  We will then glance at the various key institutions of the EU with an eye on the limits they have and the reason why they were included in the various treaties and agreements under which they were developed.  We will conclude with a discussion of the major policy areas covered under the auspices of the EU and a current perspective on the degree to which they represent the policies of European states.  Note that EU institutions evolve and change to meet public policy challenges which are often unexpected.  Examples here include the renewed focus on internal security and greater emphasis on EU border control following the terrorist attacks in the United States on 11 September 2001.

Unit 2 Time Advisory
This unit will take you 16.5 hours to complete.

☐    Subunit 2.1: 5 hours

☐    Subunit 2.1.1: 1 hour

☐    Subunit 2.1.2: 1.5 hours

☐    Subunit 2.1.3: 2 hours

☐    Subunit 2.1.4: 30 minutes

☐    Subunit 2.2: 8 hours

☐    Subunit 2.2.1: 2 hours

☐    Subunit 2.2.2: 2 hours

☐    Subunit 2.2.3: 2 hours

☐    Subunit 2.2.4: 30 minutes

☐    Subunit 2.2.5: 30 minutes

☐    Subunit 2.2.6: 30 minutes

☐    Subunit 2.2.7: 30 minutes

☐    Subunit 2.3: 3.5 hours 

Unit2 Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this unit, the student will be able to:

  • Summarize the history of the European Union from its postwar beginning to the present.
  • Describe the institutional framework of European integration.
  • Assess the main policies of the European Union and the politics surrounding their development. 

2.1 History and Future   2.1.1 European Union: What It Is and Is Not   - Reading: Europa: European Communities’ “How the European Union Works: Your Guide to the EU Institutions” Link: Europa: European Communities’ “How the European Union Works: Your Guide to the EU Institutions” (PDF)
 
Instructions: Please read this very short explanation of the content of the booklet introduced here.  Then, click on the PDF icon to download the full, illustrated document (52 pages).  Read and study this document at the website called “Europa,” the official web site of the European Union.  It provides a summary of the basic facts of the European Union as it exists today. 
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

2.1.2 The Post War Beginnings   - Reading: European Navigator: Historical Events: “Introduction,” “1945-1949 The Pioneering Phase,” and “1950-1956 The Formation of the Community of Europe” Link: European Navigator: Historical Events: “Introduction,” “1945-1949 The Pioneering Phase,” and “1950-1956 The Formation of the Community of Europe” (HTML, Adobe Flash)
 
Instructions: Read the synopses, and then click on the “Historical Events” file in the table of contents on the left side of the webpage.  Click on the “Introduction,” and “1945-1949” and also click on “1950-1956” files, but read only through all the files under the subheading “The Birth of the European Community,” and read each webpage synopsis for the files.  Peruse the files which are news reports, editorial cartoons, and important declarations to get a picture of the politics involved in the beginning of the European integration movement after World War II.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

2.1.3 Deeper and Wider: From ECSC to European Union   - Reading: European Navigator: Historical Events: From “The 1950-1956: The Formation of the Community of Europe” to “1998-2009: The Unification of Europe” Link: European Navigator: Historical Events: From “1950-1956: The Formation of the Community of Europe” to “1998-2009: The Unification of Europe” (HTML, Adobe Flash)
 
Instructions: Return again to the Historical Events folder by clicking on the “Historical Events” file in the table of contents on the left side of the webpage.  Click again on “1950-56: the formation of the Community of Europe,” and start reading from the subfolder “The Organisation of Common Defence” to all files under “1998-2009 The Unification of Europe” (inclusive).  Read the synopses and open all of the files containing short texts, political placards, editorial cartoons, and short speeches, focusing on the English language items.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

2.1.4 The Treaty of Lisbon and Next Steps   - Web Media: YouTube: “EU's Barroso Thanks Ireland after Yes Vote” Link: YouTube: “EU's Barroso Thanks Ireland after Yes Vote” (YouTube)
 
Instructions: Please watch this very short news report (1:27 minutes).  All EU member states approved the Treaty of Lisbon, which consequently came into force in December 2009.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Reading: Wikipedia: “Treaty of Lisbon” Link: Wikipedia: “Treaty of Lisbon” (PDF)
     
    Instructions: Read the Wikipedia entry for “Treaty of Lisbon” for a historical summary overview of the development of the international legal treaty development of the European Union.  Please feel free to click on any embedded hyperlinks that interest you. (15 minutes)
     
    Terms of Use: The article above is released under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0 (HTML).  You can find the original Wikipedia version of this article here (HTML).

  • Reading: Europa: European Commission’s “Your Guide to the Lisbon Treaty” Link: Europa: European Commission’s “Your Guide to the Lisbon Treaty” (PDF)
     
    Instructions: Please click on the PDF icon to download the file, and read this simple document in its entirety (20 pages) for a summary of the aims of the Treaty of Lisbon.
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Web Media: YouTube: IIEA’s “Justice and Home Affairs” Link: YouTube: IIEA’s “Justice and Home Affairs” (YouTube)
     
    Instructions: Please watch the short video on YouTube (about 6:48 minutes).  Please note that the video was prepared by an EU policy analysis institute in Ireland.
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

2.2 Institutions   - Web Media: YouTube: “The EU Parliament and the Treaty of Lisbon” Link: YouTube: “The EU Parliament and the Treaty of Lisbon” (YouTube)
 
Instructions: Please watch this short video. (6:46 minutes)
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

2.2.1 The European Parliament   - Reading: The European Parliament’s “The European Parliament – Working for You” Link: The European Parliament’s “The European Parliament – Working for You” (PDF)
 
Instructions: Scroll down to the bottom of the webpage, and click on the link titled “The European Parliament – Working for You” to download the PDF file.  Read this brochure, which is an introductory overview of the European Parliament written for a citizen of the European Union, in its entirety (60 pages).
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

2.2.2 The European Council   - Reading: European Council’s “The European Council in 2010” Link: European Council’s “The European Council in 2010” (PDF)
 
Instructions: Scroll down to the bottom of the webpage, and click on “Download the brochure here” to access the text.  Please read this brochure (50 pages) for a summary of the activity of the European Council in 2010 in its 7 meetings in addressing both the ongoing and unforeseen major regional and international challenges confronting the EU in 2010.  The European Council is the institutional forum for the formal decision making body of the European Union consisting of the Heads of State and Government of the 27 Member States of the European Union, chaired by the President of the European Council, with the President of the European Commission also a member.  The Treaty of Lisbon, which came into effect on 1 December 2009, formally institutionalized the European Council as one of the seven institutional bodies constituting the government framework of the European Union.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

2.2.3 The Council of the European Union   - Reading: Council of the European Union’s “Guide to the Ordinary Legislative Procedure” Link: Council of the European Union’s “Guide to the Ordinary Legislative Procedure” (PDF)
 
Instructions: Please scroll down to “Guide to the Ordinary Legislative Procedure,” and click on “Download” after “Available in PDF format.  Read this brochure (60 pages) for a description of the role of the Council of the European Union in the legislative process and procedure used in making EU policy for the great majority of EU law as a bicameral chamber alongside the European Parliament.  The “ordinary legislative procedure” covers most EU law, which is concentrated in the European Union’s international and internal economic policy and in EU internal policing and border control policy as the “area of freedom, justice and security.”
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

2.2.4 The European Commission   - Reading: Europa: “The European Commission” Link: Europa: “The European Commission” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Please read the webpage in its entirety.  The European Commission is the executive arm of the European Union but it functions through political collaboration with the member states that by agreement created the European Commission to facilitate their cooperation and integration.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

2.2.5 The Court of Justice of the European Union   - Reading: Curia: “Court of Justice” Link: Curia: “Court of Justice” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Please read this webpage in its entirety for a detailed introductory overview of the historical role of the Court of Justice, focusing on the development of EU law through land mark decisions.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

2.2.6 European Central Bank   - Reading: European Central Bank’s “FACTS Slides” Link: European Central Bank’s “FACTS Slides” (Zip, Microsoft Powerpoint)
 
Instructions: Access the five sets of slides under “Download Slides” by clicking on “Download .zip” hyperlink for each.  Please study these slides carefully.

 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.

2.2.7 Court of Auditors   - Reading: EU Bookshop: “The European Union Court of Auditors: the European Union’s External Auditor” Link: EU Bookshop: “The European Union Court of Auditors: the European Union’s External Auditor” (PDF)
 
Instructions: Click on the “Download” button at the bottom of the webpage to download the PDF file.  Please read the brochure to gain an introduction to the European Union’s main auditing body for ensuring that EU funds allocated are monitored.

 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.

2.3 Policies and Politics   2.3.1 The Advent of a Public and Social Policy   - Reading: Europa: European Communities’ “European Employment and Social Policy: a Policy for People” Link: Europa: European Communities’ “European Employment and Social Policy: a Policy for People” (PDF)
 
Instructions: Please click on the “PDF” icon to download the file, and read the booklet to gain an introduction to the European Union’s commitment to create an employment and social policy, which became EU wide with the Treaty of Amsterdam in 1997.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

2.3.2 Economic and Monetary Union   - Reading: Europa: European Commission’s “Going for Growth - The Economy of the EU” Link: Europa: European Commission’s “Going for Growth - The Economy of the EU” (PDF or Microsoft Word)
           
Instructions: Click on the PDF icon to download “Going for Growth --The Economy of the EU.”  Please read the booklet in its entirety (28 pages) to gain an introduction to the European Union’s commitment to create a single economic and monetary space, culminating in the creation of the Euro in 1999.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

2.3.3 The Common Agriculture Policy   - Reading: Europa: “Policy Areas: Agriculture” Link: Europa: “Policy Areas: Agriculture” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Please read the “Overview” section.  Then, also click on the “Legislation” and “More Information” tabs and read these webpages.  This reading will provide an introduction to the European Union’s commitment to a common agricultural policy as a cornerstone of EU economic integration, as a foundation for European political cooperation, and as a principle of rural social development.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Web Media: YouTube: “EU Set for New Debate on Cutting Farm Subsidies” Link: YouTube: “EU Set for New Debate on Cutting Farm Subsidies” (YouTube)
     
    Instructions: Please watch the short news video on the Common Agriculture Policy (7:55 minutes).
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

2.3.4 Environmental Policy   - Reading: Europa: European Communities’ “Combating Climate Change: Europe Leads the Way” Link: Europa: European Communities’ “Combating Climate Change: Europe Leads the Way” (PDF or Microsoft Word)
 
Instructions: Click on the “PDF” icon to download the PDF file.  Please read this booklet, outlining the EU policy efforts to address the challenge of global climate change.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

2.3.5 Foreign Policy and EU Relations with the United States   - Reading: Europa: European Communities’ “The EU in the World: The Foreign Policy of the European Union” Link: Europa: European Communities’ “The EU in the World: The Foreign Policy of the European Union” (PDF or Microsoft Word)
 
Instructions: Please read this document for an overview of the foreign policy of the European Union.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

2.3.6 Cohesion and Regional Policy   - Reading: Europa: “Policy Areas: Regional Policy” Link: Europa: “Policy Areas: Regional Policy” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Please read the “Overview” webpage, and then click on the tabs for “Legislation” and “More Information” and read each of those webpages.  This reading will provide an overview of the European Union’s policy of reducing European regional economic disparities to support European political integration.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.