Fall 2015

European Politics: The EU and the Making of the United States of Europe

Listed in: Political Science, as POSC-246

Moodle site: Course


Alicja A. Gescinska (Section 01)


[ IL, SC ] This course presents an historical account of the process of European integration and guides the students through the bureaucratic labyrinth of the European Union. The EU is a major political, economic and military (despite the lack of a unified European defense policy) supranational entity and arguably the most important economic and political partner of the U.S.  A thorough understanding of how the EU was created and how it operates is thus of great importance to understand international politics and it is this understanding that the students will acquire throughout this course.

The course consists of three modules. The first module begins with the end of WWI, which ignited the belief that a far-reaching process of European integration was needed to avoid history repeating itself with another world war, though it took another world war before that process of integration began to take form. In this module we will examine the views of those intellectuals and politicians who–-already during the interwar period–-began advocating the formation of a European federation, a United States of Europe, and discuss how that process of integration eventually unfolded after WWII: from the formation of the ECSC in 1951 to the formal establishment of the EU in 1993 via the Maastricht Treaty and its most recent expansions.

The second module takes a closer look at the different levels of European integration: military, economic, financial, political, and also cultural. In the third module we will look at the main obstacles for further European integration. We will discuss the recurrent objections to this process of integration and the way the EU is currently functioning and evaluate to what extent the objections of Eurosceptics are justified.

Throughout the course the students will be guided through the history of the making of the EU and its institutions and will also get to know what the current power balances in Europe are--not only among the different member states of the EU but also within its most powerful members. Attention will also be paid to recent developments and contemporary "hot issues" within the EU, including issues that risk undermining the process of integration, or that in fact might speed it up. These are, among others, the debate of a shared immigration policy, the possibility of countries opting out of the Union, and the TTIP (Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership) between the US and the EU.

Fall semester.  Loewenstein Fellow Gescinska.

If Overenrolled: Preference given to Political Science majors


2020-21: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2015