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Europe in Crises: Integration under International and Internal Threat
Course Description

“Europe will be forged in crises” – predicted one of the ‘founding fathers’ of European integration, Jean Monnet. He was most certainly right about the latter: crises aplenty. In the past few years, the EU has found itself facing Russia and its war against Ukraine, China, and even the United States. The changing global order and the chilling of the external environment has come at a conjuncture of internal crises: Brexit, anti-EU, nationalist movements and governments in member states, the declining faith of pro-EU elites in the idea of an ‘ever closer union’, and the conflict of creditor and debtor countries in the Eurozone and between the core and periphery. Some EU leaders consider these 'unprecedented geopolitical and existential threats to the very survival of the EU'.

The course engages with these ‘four crises’ of the integrative processes in Europe: external, economic, internal, and ideational, and with the scholarly controversies about how to interpret them. The course is designed as a mix of interactive lectures and seminar discussions; it will engage with a wide variety of IR, IPE, regionalism, and national studies concepts and will also make use of contemporary sources (articles, speeches, etc.). In the final part, the course will look at whether these crises lead to further integration as Monnet predicted and will consider recent proposals about how to reshape the EU, and what these possible responses may mean for the global order. 

The course includes a field trip to a border region to experience first-hand how the various concepts and policies on overlapping layers of integration function in real life and how they 'create integration', and to observe the current limits of this process. The course also serves as an entry point for the study of other regional integrations outside of Europe.

Learning Outcomes

1)    develop a critical understanding of the crises that challenge the EU and post-war structures in Europe

2)    identify and critically assess different approaches to the study of European integration

3)    situate European political and economic developments in a global context as well as draw lessons for the future

4)    apply diverse regionalism concepts to assess other regional integration schemes in the world.

  1. Attendance and active participation(!) in class discussions based on the readings (10 % of final grade). 
  2. One 1500-word (excluding footnotes and bibliography) short paper (double-spaced, Times New Roman, 12-points). (25% of final grade). 
  3. One 10-minute long,in-class presentation (20% of final grade), which should relate to the topic for the day, but it should not be a summary of the required readings. 
  4. One 3500-4000-word long (excluding footnotes and bibliography, double-spaced, Times New Roman 12-points) research paper (45% of final grade).

Students do not need to have done prior studies in the workings of the EU to take this course.

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