Please note: the information in the course manual is binding.
At the end of the course students should have gained:
- knowledge of geographical diversity in Europe and the way in which this is subject of policy-making on the level of states, regions and the EU;
- insight in the functioning of organisations and actors on several levels within the European arena on behalf of local and regional interest;
- experience in analysing, reporting and discussing EU policy within the scope of distinct scales and geographical diversity.
European Integration is a complex process, with many stakeholders involved. A couple of years ago an increasing number of authors expected a collapse of the EU, due to many challenges. We witnessed the effects of the major financial crisis in the EU that started in 2008, and the almost collapse of the Eurozone. In 2015 the influx of asylum seekers was another challenging topic for the EU. A major divide has become visible (again): between the Northern and the Southern part of the EU, between the old and the new member states in Central and Eastern Europe.|
Recently, some of the aforementioned authors, changed their mind and are more positive. More integration seems to take place, forced by external circumstances (like the changing position of the US and China in the world order), and the need to have a more common Climate Policy. But still, it is difficult to reach consensus, and discussions continue.
Perhaps the main reason for the current EU crisis is (geographical) diversity. Many say that further integration is not possible without a political union. But a stronger political union would mean deeper integration, meaning that member states should give up more sovereignty and hand over power to Brussels.
The EU is therefore at a crossroad. How have we reached this point, and what are the further possible steps: that is the mean focus of our course. But we will always relate European integration to the geography and the diversity of Europe. There are many geographical dimensions of the Integration Process. We will focus on the following questions:
During the course we try to explain the backgrounds of all these problems and dimensions, and will discuss the future of European Integration.
- What was the effect of European integration on regional differentiation in the EU? Is EU membership in general ‘good’ for economic and regional development?
- How successful were/are regional funds?
- What are the (geographical) limits of enlargement?
- What were the causes of the euro crisis, and were the problems related to the Monetary Union fixed?
- How to deal with migration and asylum seekers? What could be the design of a common Asylum and Migration Policy?
- What are the pros and cons of the Common Agricultural Policy?
- What could be the effect of BREXIT?
- What are the challenges of the EU Climate- and Energy policy?
- What are the effects of the Corona crisis?
There will be lectures and exams, and several debates to discuss the major EU policies. A major component of this courses are debates, with role-playing. Groups of four students take the role of one member states.
For final information about modes of instruction, assessment and literature: see course manual.