Loyola University Chicago

John Felice Rome Center

PLSC 347 European Union

Fall 2016


John Felice Rome Center


Course Title: The European Union Politics


Course Number: PLSC 347


Period: 2016 Fall Semester


Time: Two 1’20” sessions per week (Tuesdays & Thursdays, 3:40-4:55 p.m.)


Classroom: Room TBA


Professor: Claudio Lodici    (clodici@luc.edu)


Office hours: T. & Th. 11:00 AM – 1 PM; 3:45-5:00 PM (by appointment, room 103)


Required Text: Understanding the European Union, 6th edition, by John McCormick (Palgrave Macmillan, March 2014)


Course Purpose: PLSC 347 is a course focusing on the politics and current institutions of the European Union (EU) and the historical process that led to it. Like an international organization, the EU was originally founded through a series of treaties between six West European nation states, represented by their governments, and the member states retain the final say on many issues. But much also has changed since the 1950s. Over time, more and more countries decided to join. A further 22 countries have since joined the EU, including a historic expansion in 2004 marking the re-unification of Europe after decades of division The union reached its current size of 28 member countries with the accession of Croatia on 1 July 2013. Meeting in the "European Council" or "Council of Ministers," national governments take binding decisions on an increasing number of issues by majority vote rather than unanimity, and they share executive powers with a supranational European institution, the European Commission. Is the EU thus a state in the making? How might we understand the current politics and policies of the European Union as well as the historical process that led to it? In this course, we will examine a range of theoretical perspectives that might help us explain the EU and the process of European integration. We will read the classics of integration theory, but also examine the EU comparatively as an instance of more common political phenomena, drawing on general theories of international relations, state formation, and comparative (domestic) politics. Empirically, assigned readings focus on the history and current institutions of the EU and cover a few key policy areas in general; for the research papers, student should conduct empirical analyses of a particular aspect of the process of European integration or analyses of EU politics in a specific issue area. PLSC 347 is an upper level undergraduate course.


Course description:  This course will address core questions of European integration from the origins of the European Union to its current economic crisis. The unifying theme is the question: How alike politically do countries have to be for economic integration to work? More specifically, we will ask: Are there fundamental tensions between economic integration and political integration? If so, how might they be managed? Does the EU have a "democratic deficit" or, on the contrary, has it strengthened democracy among its members, especially in the new members from post-communist Eastern Europe? What are the challenges of integrating post-communist countries into the EU? Last, what does the ongoing economic crisis reveal about the project of creating a single currency, the Euro? In addressing these questions, the class will take an interdisciplinary approach.

Please note: This syllabus is subject to change with advance notice.


Course objectives:  At the end of this course and having completed the essential reading students should be able to: demonstrate a thorough understanding of the European Union, its institutional processes and policies and their impact on European, as well as non-European states and citizens; demonstrate an understanding of the main political processes of the EU; assess the present and future processes of European Integration in light of the main theories, models and concepts used in the EU studies  demonstrate a critical understanding of the EU’s key policies and their impact on the outside world.



Course procedure:  Students are expected to have completed their reading before the end of the semester. Each student will write a review of approximately 600 words for a book among the recommended readings. They are also expected to actively participate in all sessions, and their participation will be taken into consideration. Some sessions are in seminar format.


Credits: Three credit hours


Evaluation: Class participation and daily readings. There are 80 points awarded at the discretion of the instructor for attendance, participation (it is not necessary to speak, but it is necessary to be "present"), and questions. Students will be expected to bring to class each Tuesday one question related to the chapter from the McCormick’s text for that week. As you read the chapter[s], there should be something that either is of interest to you or that is not clear to you. The success of this class depends upon the quality of the dialogue in class. It is expected that students will attend every class and that they will be fully prepared to discuss the material assigned for that day. Class participation grades will reflect their attendance record, the frequency of their contributions to class discussions, and the quality of their questions, observations, and conclusions.

There will be daily readings worth 40 points. Each of the students will report once on a short reading assignment on class days. Students are to read one or two chapter sections summarizing the most significant or revealing points in the day's readings.


There will be a term project worth 200 points. Each student will also write a paper of approximately 3000 words (or about 12 double-spaced typewritten pages) analyzing a particular aspect of the process of European integration or EU politics in a specific issue area Students should choose their topic in consultation with the instructor. The completed paper will be due by November 29.


The following schedule will be strictly observed:

  1. Consultation with the instructor on your research idea (by October 4).
  2. A typed project proposal, including the central questions, a plan for research, and a preliminary bibliography (due October 18).
  3. A rough draft of the paper (due November 15).
  4. A final draft (due November 29).


Plagiarism: Students of this university are called upon to know, to respect, and to practice a high standard of personal honesty. Plagiarism is a serious form of violation of this standard. Plagiarism is the appropriation for gain of ideas, language, or work of another without sufficient public acknowledgement that the material is not one’s own. Plagiarism on the part of a student in academic work or dishonest examination behavior will result in failure and will be reported to the Office of the Dean of Academic Affairs.


Examinations:  There will be two examinations (Midterm: essay, with some choice--1 of 3, e.g.; Final: 10 short answer essays). The Midterm exam will be worth 200 points, the final will be worth 400 points.

Travel plans or other personal commitments may not interfere with examinations.

The first exam will cover the first half of the class; the final exam will be cumulative.

Each student will write a book review of approximately 600 words. Students will have the ability to make their own choice as long as the book deals with comparative government. This will be submitted no later than November 22. Each review should include a brief synopsis, followed by the reader’s reaction. What was the author’s point. What did the editor provide. What do you think of the book. What did you learn. What did you like about the book. What didn’t you like about the book. How did the book relate to your understanding of democracy and government today. Why was the assignment worthwhile. Why wasn’t the assignment worthwhile. THIS ASSIGNMENT MUST BE WORD PROCESSED, SPELL CHECKED AND PROOF READ. Failure to follow these directions will result in either a lowered grade or having the assignment returned ungraded to be resubmitted. Late assignments (including those returned for resubmission) may have points deducted for each day late.

Reviews are worth a possible 80 points.


Added together, the total number of points is 1,000.


Please note that there is often, although not always, a positive correlation between class attendance and "participation" and the student's ability to earn a better than average grade.



The grading scale:   

A      4.00 Excellent          950 or more points
A-     3.67                         920-940 points
B+    3.33                         880-919 points
B      3.00 Good                840-879 points

B-     2.67                         800-839 points
C+    2.33                         770-799 points
C      2.00 Satisfactory      730-769 points
C-     1.67                         700-729 points          
D+    1.33                         650-699 points
D      1.00 Poor                 600-649
F      0.00 Failure              599 and below
P      0.00  Pass with credit.


The minimum passing grade for a course taken under the Pass/Fail option will be C minus (C-)

I      Incomplete
W     Withdrawal
WF   Withdrawal Failure

C- will be the minimum acceptable grade for university undergraduate requirements, such as the University Core Curriculum and the Values Across the Curriculum requirements.


Grade Tabulation:   

Class participation      80 points

Reading assignments 40 points

Book review                80 points

Midterm exam             200 points

Tem project                200 points

Final exam                 400 points


Please note that there is often, although not always, a positive correlation between class attendance and participation and the student's ability to earn a better than average grade.


Grading philosophy:

A      Excellent. Indicates the highest level of achievement in the subject and an outstanding level of intellectual initiative. 

B      Good. Indicates a good level of achievement, intelligent understanding and application of subject matter.

C      Satisfactory. Indicates academic work of an acceptable quality and an understanding of the subject matter.

D      Poor. Minimum credit. Indicates the lowest passing grade, unsatisfactory work and only the minimum understanding and application.

F      Failure. Indicates the lack of even the minimum understanding and application.


Attendance policy:    Students are expected to attend each class session unless they have a valid reason for being absent. Students who miss a single class for a medical reason must make a reasonable effort to contact me in advance, and upon return to class, present me with a note which acknowledges that the information provided is accurate.

Two unexcused absences lower the final course grade by 5%. The final course grade will be lowered an additional 2% for each class missed over and above the first two. Arriving late counts as either ¼ or ½ of a missed class.

There are no make-up exams, tests, or quizzes unless students demonstrate in advance that a significant life-event prevents them from attending class or if they have a documented emergency. The following are not acceptable excuses: scheduled flights or trips, job interviews, picking up relatives at the airport, etc.

Attendance and punctuality are basic requirements for an effective course. Beyond that, each person's frequency and quality of contribution to the class discussion will be assessed and reflected in the class participation score. If students cannot attend a class it is a courtesy to inform me in advance if possible.



Disagreement: Political attitudes and opinions tend to reflect one's social background and self-interest, and since we all have different backgrounds and interests there is no reason why we should be expected to agree. A student does not have to agree with the professor to get a grade in this class. It is both legitimate and desirable for you to disagree with me and independently and critically evaluate the material. I will exercise my academic freedom and say what I think is accurate about politics; you have the same right. Political Science is a way of thinking about politics, not a set of right answers and airing your disagreements is an excellent way to learn how to think. So please, if you feel I am wrong, challenge me. Former Speaker of the House Sam Rayburn had two bits of advice for the new members: "Learn to disagree without being disagreeable", and "Don't turn political differences into personal differences".


Behavior: Civility and toleration are essential for an academic atmosphere conducive to learning. Incivility in the classroom will not be tolerated. Students should make sure to turn off cellular phones and other electronic devices before class. Students are not allowed to eat, drink, or smoke in the classrooms. 


Honor Code: Lying, cheating, attempted cheating, and plagiarism are violations of our Honor Code that, when identified, are investigated. Each incident will be examined to determine the degree of deception involved.


Examinations: As stated above, travel plans or other personal commitments may not interfere with midterm and final examinations.



Course outline


September 6-8: What is the European Union?The E.U. and the international system; The dynamics of regional integration.


September 13-15: Explaining the E.U. today. Federalism vs. confederalism. The idea of Europe: Europe’s changing identity.


September 20-22: Where is Europe? What is European? The evolution of Europe. Postwar Europe. First steps toward integration. The European Economic Community.


September 27-29: Focus on the single market. From Community to Union. To Lisbon and the Eurozone crisis.


October 4-6: The European institutions. A constitution for Europe. The European Council; The European Commission.


October 7-16: Fall semester break


October 18-20: The Council of the E.U.; The European Parliament; The European Count of Justice.


October 21: Mid-term examination


October 25-27: The E.U. and its citizens. Public opinion and Europe; Euroscepticism; The people’s Europe;


November 1-3: Participation and representation. European elections; Referenda; Interest groups.


November 8-10: The E.U. policy process. Compromise and bargaining; Political games; Multi-speed integration; Incrementalism. The E.U. budget.


November 15-17: Economic policy. The single market; European business and the single market; The Eurozone.


November 22: Internal policies. Regional policy; Employment and social policy; Agriculture and fisheries; Justice and home affairs; Environmental policy.


November 24-27 : Thanksgiving recess


November 29-December 1: External policy. Foreign policy; Security policy; Trade policy; Relations with the U.S.; Relations with the neighborhood; Development cooperation.


December 5-8 : Relations with the U.S.; Relations with the neighborhood; Development cooperation. Paper presentations.


December 10, 12-15: Final Examinations