Spring 2018

European Union Politics: Integration and Disintegration

Listed in: Political Science, as POSC-270


Ruxandra Paul (Section 01)


[IL, G] What is the European Union? Where is it coming from? Where is it headed? The EU has evolved from its original ambitions as an economic regional integration project to add political substance, becoming a multi-level structure with  its own constitution, currency, court, and form of citizenship,  with powerful institutions, increasingly porous  internal  borders  and  a  common external  border.  Some have argued that the EU is  sui generis, an unprecedented supranational structure that should be studied as such (some have referred to it as an “unidentified political object”). Others have relied on the literatures on international organization and comparative federalism to include it on a continuum ranging from international organizations to confederations and federal states. Yet others have turned to the distant past to find equivalents, arguing that the EU resembles a “neo-medieval empire” (Zielonka).

This course tackles the big questions concerning the EU’s past, present, and future. How far and deep can the EU project expand? Can it withstand the pressures of global economic competition? Can it find solutions to the current migration crisis without compromising its defining features: porous internal borders and freedom of movement for goods, capital, services, and people on its territory? Will it overcome internal divisions between East and West, between new members and the old core of advanced industrialized democracies that initiated the European unification project? The course introduces students to the concepts, theories, and empirical resources needed to examine European integration and enlargement. We will overview the history and development of the European integration project to understand its institutional framework and relationship with member-states in different policy areas. We will analyze and assess the major theories of EU integration in light of current events. We will delve into specific EU policy areas (economic and monetary union, security, migration, external relations etc.) to understand how the EU shapes the lives of its citizens. We will also study the EU’s relationship with the U.S. and its successive rounds of enlargement towards Southern and post-communist Central and Eastern Europe, which have played an essential role in defining the EU’s current profile.

Limited to 25 students. Spring semester.  Professor Paul.

If Overenrolled: Priority given to sophomores, then to a balance of freshmen, juniors and seniors.


Attention to Speaking


2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2017, Spring 2018, Spring 2019, Spring 2021, Spring 2022