“On paper” and “in practice”
The course will focus on the unique political system of the European Union. Students will be introduced to the main institutions playing a role in the decision-making process and to some of the main decision-making procedures. In this context an introduction will be given to the legal order of the EU by covering the main sources of Community Law. Using the field of environmental policy as an example the students will gain some insights how formal institutions, rules and procedures work out in the practice of EU policy making.
The course very much builds on the active participation of participants. Group work and open debates will form an integral part of the program.
The first part of the course will focus on the Institutional Framework of the EU by examining:
- The main sources of Community Law and where relevant their repercussions on the institutional framework.
- The role of the European Commission, the European Parliament, the Council of Ministers and the European Court of Justice within the EU’s institutional framework (and where relevant their evolution during the process of European integration).
This section will be based on lectures and class discussions on such critical questions as the quality of democracy in the EU and the efficiency of decision making.
The second part will concentrate on policy making within the European system by looking at:
- Some of the main decision making procedures such as consultation and co-decision
- The role of non-institutional actors such as NGOs in the EU’s decision making process
- The performance of EU policies during the implementation phase
This part will combine discussions of general aspects of the policy making process with exemplary and more detailed insights picked from the field of environmental policy.
Requirements: Class participation (40%), a mid-term (20%) and a final exam (40%). The mid-term exam will focus on “facts” and combine multiple choice with short answer questions (30-45min); the final exam will pose an essay question and give the opportunity for some free reflection (45 min).