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Module Code - Title:


Year Last Offered:


Hours Per Week:













Grading Type:


Prerequisite Modules:

Rationale and Purpose of the Module:

The aim of this module is to develop students' understanding of how the European Union formulates and adopts policies. Special attention is given to the roles and organisational structures of the different institutions involved in the EU policy-making process. The module presents theories of integration and policy-making, the internal organisation, functions, and powers of the main institutions of the EU, and the inter-institutional decision-making process through which those institutions interact to shape the content of policies.


The module introduces students to the institutions and policies of the European Union. The first part of the module is devoted to the description and explanation of the internal workings of the European Commission, the European Parliament, and the Council of the European Union. It will also cover the interaction of those institutions in the EU's legislative decision-making process. The second part of the module focuses on how policy decisions are made in different policy sectors, highlighting distinctions in institutional structures and actor configurations. Theories aimed at explaining important sector-specific decisions and developments are also discussed. Examples will be drawn from a variety of policy areas, such as the common agricultural policy, justice and home affairs, the internal market, environmental policy, and economic and monetary policy.

Learning Outcomes:

Cognitive (Knowledge, Understanding, Application, Analysis, Evaluation, Synthesis)

On completion of the module, students should be able to: Critically assess the major theoretical approaches to the study of European integration and EU policy-making Describe the organisational structure and the internal decision-making processes of the main EU institutions Describe the formal procedure and the informal practices governing the interactions of EU institutions in legislative decision-making Evaluate the relative power of different actors within and across institutions in EU legislative decision-making Assess the consequences of different rule configurations, process characteristics, and power distributions amongst actors for the democratic legitimacy of the EU Conduct independent research on EU policy-making using news sources, secondary literature, and online databases

Affective (Attitudes and Values)

On completion of the module, students should be able to: Appreciate the value of social scientific methods for answering explanatory and normative research questions about EU politics

Psychomotor (Physical Skills)

Not applicable

How the Module will be Taught and what will be the Learning Experiences of the Students:

The module will be taught in the form of lectures and seminars. The lectures provide the required basic knowledge to understand the institutional setup of the EU and its legislative decision-making process (graduate Attribute: KNOWLEDGEABLE). The seminars are divided between presentations by students and subsequent class discussions (graduate attribute: ARTICULATE). The presentations describe and analyse a particular policy-making case. In prepration, students select a case of their choice and conduct independent research relying on a variety of sources (graduate attributes: PROACTIVE and RESPONSIBLE).

Research Findings Incorporated in to the Syllabus (If Relevant):

Prime Texts:

Simon Hix and Bjorn Hoyland (2011) The Political System of the European Union , Palgrave Macmillan
Neill Nugent (2010) The Government and Politics of the European Union , Palgrave Macmillan
Helen Wallace, Mark A. Pollack, and Alasdair R. Young (2010) Policy-Making in the European Union , Oxford University Press

Other Relevant Texts:

John McCormick (2011) European Union Politics , Palgrave Macmillan
Ian Bache, Stephen George, and Simon Bulmer (2011) Politics in the European Union , Oxford University Press
Michelle Cini and Nieves Perez-Solorzano Borragan (2010) European Union Politics , Oxford University Press

Programme(s) in which this Module is Offered:

MAEPGOTFA - European Politics and Governance
MAPDSTTFA - Peace and Development Studies
MAIGSTTFA - Irish - German Studies
MAPOLITFA - Politics
MAINSTTFA - International Studies
MAPUADTFA - Public Administration

Semester - Year to be First Offered:

Module Leader: