Politics and Decision-making in the EU
Course Coordinator: Dr. Noreha Hj. Hashim
Dr. Petra Zimmerman-Steinhart (University of Erlangen-Nürnberg)
Michael Friedel, M.A. (Heidelberg), M.E.S. (Bruges)
The key objective of this course is
- to provide students with the framework for understanding the complexities of decision-making within the EU
- to examine European governance (by analyzing the institutional evolutions and the most recent treaty reforms)
The formation of the European Union was the will of its diverse Member States with their histories, cultures and what we are particularly interested here is their political systems and political cultures which have a bearing on decision-making processes in the EU. Hence, firstly an overview of the different political systems in the aspects such as party systems, territorial structures and political cultures from a comparative point of view will be given. Against this background are the theories and approaches to European integration. Next, the EU institutions (Commission, European Parliament, Council of Ministers, the Committees and the agencies) are looked at as they are key players in integration, in decision-making. Power and competences have been transferred from the Member States to the EU and could be described as a pooling of sovereignty in which the nation-state is changing. The complexity of EU decision-making involves on one hand, the EU institutions in interactions with the Member States where national interests and politics come in and on the other, with civil society. To study this involves developing a set of analytical tools for understanding the relationship between strategic behaviour and institutional rules in the EU decision-making process. It involves studying the interaction between the (a) the policy positions of the Member States, the Commission and the European Parliament, (b) the civil society at large (role of lobbies) and (c) the rules of the legislative procedures that are to be applied to a particular field of competence/legislation.