Europe in Crises: Integration under International and Internal Threat

Course Description: 

For the first time in its history, the European Union finds itself facing Russia, China, and the United States; none of them are particularly friendly. The chilling of the external environment comes at a conjuncture of internal crises: Brexit, anti-EU, nationalist movements 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. The President of the European Council called these: unprecedented geopolitical and existential threats to the very survival of the EU. The course engages with these ‘four crises’ of Europe: external, internal, ideational, and economic, and with the scholarly controversies about how to interpret them. In the final part, the course will look at whether “Europe will be forged in crises”, as one of the ‘founding fathers’, Jean 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 is designed as a mix of interactive lectures and seminar discussion based on the required readings; it will engage with a wide-variety of IR, IPE, and regionalism concepts and will also make use of contemporary sources (articles, speeches, etc.) to link scholarly approaches to interpreting current affairs.

Learning Outcomes: 

 Through engagement with current issues and related scholarly debates students will gain a better understanding of the diverse approaches to the study of the European Union, as well as the complexity of processes shaping Europe today. By the end of the course students will be able to:

 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

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


To succeed in this course, students are required to prepare for and actively participate in in-class discussions. They are to read the required texts for each class, bring a hard-copy of the texts with them, which will be necessary during class discussions. (No electronic devices may be used in class.) Students are required to critically engage with the texts when preparing for each class. This means, on the most basic level, identifying (taking notes, highlighting) the main arguments, their strength and weaknesses, and the theoretical concepts (when relevant) applied by the author(s). Please do not hesitate to ask for help and/or consultations.

  1. Attendance and active participation in class discussions based on the readings (15 % of final grade).
  2. Two 1500-word position papers (double-spaced, Times New Roman, 12-points) on the required readings, one of which (depending on the class size) is to be presented in class, in a 10-minute long presentation. Going beyond a simple summary, students are required to compare two or more views found in the readings, raise a puzzling question, or elaborate and critically comment on an interesting aspect. (40% of final grade – 2 papers + 1 or 2 presentation).
  3. One 3500-4000-word long (double-spaced, Times New Roman 12-points) research paper. Topics are to be discussed with the instructor (45% of final grade). While the paper is to relate to any of the topics covered in this course, I am flexible in working with you that your final paper is usable for your MA thesis.