Course Description

Course Name

Economics and Politics of the EU

Session: VSVU1223

Hours & Credits

45 Contact Hours

Prerequisites & Language Level

Recommended Prior Knowledge:

Topics covered in this course require an intermediate knowledge of theories, key actors, policies and case studies pertaining to the fields of Political Science, Economics and International Relations. Prior to registering for this course, it is highly recommended that students have a detailed knowledge of these fields of study in order to fully comprehend course material, classroom discussions and examinations.

Taught In English

  • There is no language prerequisite for courses at this language level.


USF Course Code: INR 4931

Language: English

Students: foreing students from the academic program ISA

Contact hours: 45

Course objective:
To the common bystander, Europe is perceived as an inviting region known for tourism, splendid museums and delightful restaurants. This course will introduce students to a different side of Europe, one that encompasses its tragic and contentious history; defined by 2.000 years of bloodshed, war and genocide that culminated in two of the most devastating wars that humanity has ever seen. This course will examine how the continent of Europe rose up from the ashes of war to build a highly emulated political structure, along with the origins of the European single-currency monetary system. By utilizing case studies and an analysis of current events, students will develop a framework which will enable them to discuss the present-day Euro crisis as well as the European Union's relevancy in today's increasingly globalized world. Constant reference and comparisons will be made to the USA as the main counterpart to Europe in the Western world.

Learning outcomes:
- Summarize the history of European economic and political integration process.
- Understand the political and economic mechanisms of the UE.
- Compare different political and policy outcomes between UE and the United States.
- Critically analyze advantages and disadvantages of EU membership.
- Evaluate the impact in the EU and in Spain of its membership.
- Identify main challenges that European Union faces in terms of European feeling, economic and political union and common foreign policy.

Course contents:

Unit 1: Why a European Union? History, Culture and Identity in Europe. Rationale for the European project. The rise of Europe from the ashes of WWII. The European Heritage as basis of a common identity. Historical antecedents of a united Europe. The intelectual antecedents of the European ideal. The European ethos. Europe?s complexity and diversity. Who are the Europeans? A quick survey of Europe?s 27 member countries.

Unit 2: The European Institutions. The European construction process: from the Schuman Declaration to the Maastricht Treaty and beyond. The three pillars of the EU. Timeline: History of European integration and enlargements. The fathers of Europe: Jean Monnet, Robert Schuman, Konrad Adenauer, Paul-Henri Spaak, Alcide De Gasperi. Who takes the decisions? The Commission, the Council and the European Parliament.

Unit 3: Enlargement and accession policy. History of the successive enlargements and assessment of their economic impact. Future enlargement prospects: the Balkans, Ukraine, and the strategic dilemma posed by Turkey.


Unit 4: Economic integration I. The Single Market Programme. Competition policy, state aid, industrial policy.

Unit 5: Economic integration II: Enlargement and accession policy. History of the successive enlargments and assesment of their economic impact.

Unit 6: Economic integration III: The Common Policies: Regional policy, Agricultural Policy, Trade Policy. Europe in the international trading system (the World Trade Organization and the current Doha Round). Environmental policy.

Unit 7: Economic integration IV: The European Social Model. Employment and social policy. The Social Charter and the Union?s social legislation. The European workplace and labor markets: the anglo-saxon and continental models. The EU employment strategy. Industrial relations in Europe (employers and unions). Europe?s Social Model in a globalized economy.

Unit 8: Economic integration V: The euro. The euro. EMU (Economic and Monetary Union). A detailed analysis of the introduction, impact and workings of the euro. The European Central Bank and monetary policy.
The debt and banking crisis in the eurozone: its causes and dynamics. The European project at crossroads: can the euro survive?


Unit 9: Justice and Home Affairs, Inmigration, Education and Cultural Policy. The Schengen Agreements: judicial, police and customs cooperation. Asylum and inmigration policy: the challenge of a multicultural society. European citizenship and the Charter of Fundamental Rights. Education, language and cultural policies.

Unit 10: The political dynamics of Europe: dilemmas and choices. Analysis of the institutional arrangements of the Treaty of Lisbon (2007). The political dynamics of a Europe in crisis: a) the eurozone vs the European Union; b) the way forward: Fiscal and Political Union. Are Europeans ready for a United States of Europe?

Unit 10: Europe and the world. The Common Foreign and Security Policy in the Treaty of Lisbon: the High Representative for Common Foreign and Security Policy. Development and humanitarian aid policy. The role of Europe in the XXI Century: relations with the US, Russia and the Arab world.

Required readings: Course dossier (a collection of reading materials compiled by your lecturer).

Complementary bibliography:

- Tony Judt Postwar. A History of Europe since 1945, Penguin Press, 2005.
- Simon Mercado, Richard Welford and Kate Prescott. European Business. Fourth Edition by Pearson Education Limited (Finantial Times, Prentice Hall), 2001. Harlow, England (U.K.).
- Jeremy Rifkin, The European Dream: How Europe?s Vision of the Future is Quietly Eclipsing the American Dream, Polity Press, Cambridge, 2004.
- Enrique Barón, Europa: Pasión y Razón, Biblioteca Nueva, S.L. 2005.
- Ulrick Beck and Edgar Grande, Cosmopolitan Europe, Polity Press, Cambridge, 2007.
- Jorge Semprún, Pensar en Europa, Tusquets, Barcelona, 2006.
- Zygmunt Bauman, Europe: an Unfinished Adventure, Polity Press, Cambridge, 2004.

Course evaluation

20% Tasks and attendance
40% Final exam
30% Projects
10% Subjective evaluation

10 = Matrícula de Honor
9 ? 9,9 = Sobresaliente
7 ? 8,9 = Notable
5 ? 6,9 = Aprobado
0 ? 4,9 = Suspenso
Attending the course but not taking the exams = No presentado
Missing class more than permitted = No asistencia

Instructional Format:
Course work is comprised of in-class lectures and discussions, group exercises, outside readings, independent group and individual onsite study, and a research project.

In order to facilitate participation in classroom instruction, students will be required to carefully read assigned selections and complete given activities.

Final exam:
The final exam is comprised of questions and exercises that test your abilities in three important areas of competency: the amount of information you master; the accuracy of the information you present; and the significance you ascribe to the facts and ideas you have integrated across your study in this course. The tests shall be completed in class within the two-hour time period. Exam dates are given to students at the beginning of the course and are to be respected.

Each student will prepare a 3- 4 page typed, double-spaced final paper on an approved topic. Students are required to prepare two drafts. The first draft will be peer edited in class and utilized as a springboard for discussion in pairs. Upon receiving class feedback, students will be expected to modify their papers accordingly. On the final day of class students will hand out their paper. Both copies of the paper need to be handed in that day, along with the peer-editing sheet

Class Participation: It is expected that all students will be willing to participate actively in the class. The weight of the grading for participation reflects this expectation. Students who simply attend the class but do not participate, will not be awarded points within the participation assessment. Participation entails critically discussing issues emerging from lectures and readings, to develop oral skills, and to construct students´ own perspectives on issues raised. Participation assessment will be based on both the regularity of contributions to discussions, and on the extent to which those contributions reflect students reading and thoughtfulness.

Class Attendance: class attendance is obligatory, it is checked every class day and it is reflected in the course attendance sheet that is sent to the University.
An 85% of attendance is required for the successful completion of the course. Not missing any class will be considered positively.
If a student exceeds this limit, the grade in the transcript for this subject could appear as ?not attended course?.

Justified absences: Medical Certificates: certificates will be considered only if issued by a physician (not notes from the family explaining the student absence). The certificates must include the exact dates for which a student should be excused for having missed classes.

English expression
The students should express themselves -both orally and in writing- in good formal English. Particularly in the written partials and quizzes, as well as the presentations, good academic writing is essential. Bad, sloppy academic writing (misspellings, deficient syntax, etc.) will be penalized.

Auditors: Courses cannot be taken as auditors, thus attendance is possible only for students enrolled in a specific class.

Tardiness: It is expected that students arrive to class on time and that they return directly to class after any given break. Arriving 10 minutes late (or more) and/or early class departures are considered unexcused absences and will be taken into account as half absence.

Class Protocol: Students are required to be involved in class activities. They are expected to show their preparation by participating in discussions, by asking relevant questions, being critical and analytical with the contents presented in class as well as by sharing their ideas and opinions. In class the student is required to maintain a polite demeanour always and under every circumstance. Students are asked not to eat in class and to put their cell phones on silence. With the exception being for class presentations, laptops are not to be used in class.

Special Accommodations: Students with special needs who require reasonable modifications, special assistance or accommodations in this course (either for properly following-up classes, to take exams, etc.) should direct their request to Academic Coordination during the first week of the course.

*Course content subject to change