The European Union (EU) is a unique (and uniquely important) international organization; it is also an atypical (and still incomplete) federation of states, a supra-national institution, and one of the largest bureaucracies in the world. Through decades of slow integration the EU today encompasses the most developed countries on the European continent, over half of the former Roman Empire, and some of the smallest countries in the world. It also brings together two former sides of the Cold War era (Western Europe and the Eastern Bloc).
The EU as an institution aims to provide a common space for a variety of cultures, languages, economic differences and regional outlooks. Before the EU existed however, Europe was already a reality.
European states grew and prospered, evolving from tribal kingdoms to empires and then into modern states. Every European state is different from the other. Nowhere else one would find such diversity (in terms of Geography, Culture, Demography, Economy,) as can be observed today between Greece and Sweden, Italy and Finland, Spain and Estonia. Yet all European states share a similar understanding of civil liberties, democratic values, individual freedoms, human rights, and market economy, though some have done so for much longer than others.
The purpose of this course is guide students in their crafting of informed, argumentative, robust and accessible analysis of the history, principles, institutions, major projects, politics and policies of the EU as a global institution and a federation of states in the making. The course materials and classes assist students to shed light on several contemporary issues in and around the European Union and within European states, among others:
• The recent migration crisis (particularly since 2014), human security and human rights
• The Political economy of the European Union and the dynamics of its monetary union (the Euro)
• The Brexit phenomenon and other independence movements with a nationalist outlook
• The development of a common foreign, security and development policy, with particular attention to how the EU interacts with the Middle East (and a specific case study of EU-Iraq/KRG relations and cooperation)
• The new challenges facing the EU: the COVID-19 emergency and its management by EU institutions and European states, the rising tensions with Russia, the energy policy and economic outlook within the 2030 UN global development agenda.