Politics in the EU

The European Institute launched in Spring 2020 a new Jean Monnet Module centered on a full-semester graduate course at Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA): "Politics in the European Union". The course is taught by Professor Carlo Invernizzi Accetti.

This course offers an overview of recent and contemporary politics in the European Union. It examines the European Union as a whole, as well as the politics of certain key member states.

The course begins by asking the question of the nature of the EU polity: What is this “unidentified political object”? Is it a federation, a set of inter-governmental treatises, or does it stand for a transformation in the nature of member states themselves? The course then moves on to consider its genesis, by considering several competing theories of what has driven the process of European integration since the end of the Second World War.

Turning to the EU’s present and future, students will first consider the nature of its socio-economic policy regime, and then move on to consider aspects such as its foreign policy and the specific model of democracy that is institutionalized at the European level, focusing on the question of whether the EU suffers from a “democratic deficit”.

In the second part of the course, students focus on the internal political dynamics of France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Portugal, several Eastern European states, and Brexit. Here too, the approach is both historical and institutional: first looking at the main political events and trends in each country of focus since the end of the Cold War, and then considering the key political institutions and dynamics that have resulted from these patterns.

Each country will, however, also be used as a “prism” to examine a broader thematic issue that affects European politics more generally. In particular, the course will look at the question of “sovereignty” through sessions on Brexit and on France; “immigration policy” through Germany and Italy; and the politics of austerity through Spain, Portugal, and Greece during Europe’s long decade of economic crisis.