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EU Policy and National Politics


Admission requirements

At least BSA (40 ects).


From the outside, EU policy processes can seem to resemble a ‘black box’ with numerous institutions and actors all playing their role in a process seemingly intransparant and hard to discern. Within this myriad of players and layers, national Member States maintain an important position, mostly exercised through – but not limited to – their seats in the Council and its working groups. This course provides an introduction to key policy areas of the European Union within the theoretical framework of intergovernmentalism, focusing on national players and national actors in the policy process. The course is intended for all students wishing to understand how internal EU policies develop and how national (political) actors influence the outcome of this process. A ‘ real life’ simulation of a European Council meeting is part of the course.

Attention will be given to national parliaments and the way they aim to influence the outcome of European policy processes, with special attention to the Dutch parliament and government. The course will start with a basic overview of the institutional role of the Council, and the division of competences in the subsequent EU Treaties. At the end of the course, students will demonstrate in their final paper that they have mastered the substance of at least one internal policy area of the EU, in conjunction with having learned how to analyse the behaviour and positions of relevant national actors (be they from the Netherlands or not), within a theoretical framework. Capita Selecta are: EMU, Justice & Home Affairs, the EU budget, Energy, Climate and ‘ EU 2020 ‘. Students will be trained in finding relevant and topical Council and Commission documents, as well as relevant political documents in the national context.

Course objectives

A passive and active knowledge of the EU decision-making policies and the role of the member states in the making of EU policies.


See website Minor EUS.

Mode of instruction


Course load

Total course load is 5 ec x 28 hours = 140 hours:

  • lectures and exams (14 × 2 hours = 28 hours);

  • studying literature (112 hours).

Assessment method

The final mark will be a combination of the following notes obtained during the classes, weighted in the following way:

  • through several written assignments (75%);

  • oral presentation (25%).

There will be a retake for the policy paper.


Blackboard will be used.

Reading list

  • Wallace, H., Pollack, M. & Young, A. (2010) Policy-Making in the European Union, 6th Edition, Oxford.
    (This book will not be read in full. Students are required to read Chapters 1-4 and 20 and an additional policy chapter by choice);

  • additional literature will be provided during the course.


Via uSis.

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Not applicable.




Mw. Drs. J.I. (Ida) Petter