Spring Semester 2000

Tuesday, Thursday 9:30-10:45

529 General Classroom Building

Dr. William M. Downs



This course offers an introduction to the politics and economics of the European Union (EU). It covers the institutions, decision-making processes and major policies of the EU. It further examines the emerging role of a more united Europe as a political actor in world affairs. Topics include the evolution of the "European idea," European political cooperation, monetary union, common foreign and security policy, and the European security and defense identity. The course explores the political dynamics of decision-making among member states and institutions, including the European Council, European Commission, European Parliament, and European Court of Justice. The course then examines EU policies toward key regions such as Africa, the Middle East and the post-communist east, including the former Yugoslavia, as well as the role(s) of the European Union within the United Nations and other multinational organizations. It concludes with a look at the "New Transatlantic Agenda" (US-EU relations) and the challenges of future enlargement.

This course counts as credit toward the new European Union Studies Certificate being offered by the University System of Georgia. The purpose of the certificate is to "certify" a student as competent in a subject area outside conventional majors. As such, students are being prepared to move into professional occupations and graduate study. If you are looking to start a career in international relations, business, law, or education, studying the European Union is where you want to be.



The following texts are required reading and are available for purchase:

Neill Nugent. 1999. Government and Politics of the European Union. 4th edition. Durham: Duke University Press.

Brent Nelsen and Alexander Stubb, eds. 1998. The European Union: Readings on the Theory and Practice of European Integration. Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner.

Henri J. Warmenhoven, ed. 1999. Global Studies: Western Europe, 6th edition. Guilford, CN: Dushkin.


Students will be evaluated along four dimensions. One half of your grade will be determined by a midterm exam (20%) and a final exam (30%). The remainder of your grade will be determined by scores on four take-home assignments (35%), regular and active class participation (10%), and contributions to electronic bulletin board discussions (what we will call "e-participation," worth 10%--which builds in 5 bonus points).

Attendance. This is a lecture-discussion course. Students are thus expected to attend all class sessions and will sign an attendance sheet at each class. Students who miss more than two classes will lose 2% of the final course grade for each additional class missed, up to a total of 10%. Absences for medical reasons or for attending an official university sponsored inter-collegiate event (but not a practice) will be excused only when accompanied by a written note from the attending physician (one week following absence) or team coach (one week prior to event).

Class Participation. Students must complete the assigned readings on time, and actively participate in class discussions. To stay abreast of developments in the European Union, students should follow current events through the reading of a major newspaper and/or newsmagazine, such as the New York Times, The Christian Science Monitor, The Financial Times, and The Economist. All of these papers are available for free on the World Wide Web. Current events will be discussed throughout the course and may also be part of the exams. You may also easily access newspapers in European countries via such sites as as well as the European Union’s own television broadcasts at Additionally, you can watch "European Journal," which airs each Sunday locally on WPBA 30.

Examinations. Two in-class examinations, consisting of a midterm exam and comprehensive final, will constitute 50% of each student's grade. The exams will consist of a mix of multiple choice, short answer, and essay questions. Material discussed in class and as well as material covered in required readings will appear on the exams.

Written Assignments. At the beginning of the semester, students will select one European Union Member State that will subsequently be the focus of four take-home written assignments worth a total of 35% of your grade. This country will be your "alter ego" for the semester, as you attempt to interpret European developments and dilemmas through the lens of that country’s interests. You will receive full details of each assignment closer to each respective due date. Please note that you will have a choice of topics for assignment 4 (half of the class will write on one topic due March 18, while the other half of the class will write on a different topic due March 20). These assignments will require each student to use traditional research methods, such as library research, and newly emerging research tools, such as the World Wide Web.

Paper 1 (January 20): Member State Background Paper

Paper 2 (February 8): Analysis of 1999 European Parliament election in Member State

Paper 3 (February 29): Think piece--Will monetary union succeed or fail?

Paper 4a (April 18): Debate—Do the benefits outweigh the costs of adding new members? or

Paper 4b (April 20): Debate—Is the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) a failure?

E-Participation. The course makes use of WebCT software for online learning activities. The primary tool we will use is the electronic bulletin board (i.e., a text-based communication system that enables students and the professor to post, and reply to, messages on various topics that are open to everyone in the course. Each of your classmates and yourself can read and post to these discussions. Five percent of your course grade will be earned by responding to assignments that I post on the bulletin board. An additional (yes, bonus!) 5% may be earned by some combination of the following:

Please note that e-participation points will not be granted if activity is but a flurry at end of semester. Details of how to use WebCT will be provided early in the semester. You can access the course page at You will be provided with a password to gain access.

GSAMS Broadcasts. The class will make use of interactive videoconferencing technology available through the Georgia Statewide Academic and Medical System (GSAMS). Five GSAMS broadcasts are scheduled for our course this semester, allowing us to link up directly with scholars and policymakers who have intimate knowledge about the workings of the European Union. Each of these broadcasts is scheduled to take place in 150 College of Education. Your attendance at these broadcasts is mandatory.

Office Hours. I keep office hours each Tuesday and Thursday from 2:00-3:30. This time is set aside for your benefit. If you have questions, concerns, or ideas related to the course, I encourage you to discuss them with me. If these hours conflict with your schedule, we can arrange an appointment to meet. Additionally, since we are making use of WebCT tools for this course, an online "chat room" has been established for collective discussions during those posted office hours. I will be logged on to the chat room during those hours and will be available to address topics of your interest.

Grade Distribution:

Paper 1 5%

Paper 2 10

Paper 3/Debate 10

Paper 4/Debate 10

Attendance and Class

Participation 10

E-participation 5 (+5 bonus)

Midterm 20

Final Exam 30


FYI: You should periodically check for additional resources.


January 11 Introduction to Course



January 13 Out From the Rubble and Ashes--The Transformation of Western Europe

18 A "United States of Europe"? Antecedents of European Unity

Scheduled: GSAMS broadcast

Mr. Adrian Taylor, Scholar-in-Residence at EU Center of Georgia

(meet in 150 College of Education)

    1. From European Community to European Union

25 Maastricht and Amsterdam Treaties

    1. EU Enlargement

Scheduled: GSAMS broadcast

Dan Marek, Palacky University (Czech Republic),

meet in 150 College of Education

Recommended websites for Part I:

Western Europe Since 1945

The History of Europe -- Primary Documents

Official European Union website

The European Union in the US

EU Center of the University System of Georgia

Europe on the Internet

European Maps and Basic Facts





February 1 The Commission and the Politics of Supranationalism

    1. Council of Ministers and the European Council—Intergovernmentalism at Work
    1. European Parliament and the "Democratic Deficit"

10 Institutions in Crisis?

Scheduled: GSAMS broadcast

Joanna Apap, European Citizen Action Service,

meet in 150 College of Education

15 European Union Law and the Courts

    1. Stateless Nations in Europe and the Committee of the Regions

22 Reform of the EU

Scheduled: GSAMS broadcast

Miguel Mesquita, Forward Studies Unit of the European Commission,

meet in 150 College of Education

24 European Central Bank and the Single Currency in Action

29 Monetary Union Debate

Recommended websites for Part II:

European Commission

Council of the EU

European Parliament

Court of Justice

Eur-Lex (European Union Law)

Committee of the Regions

European Central Bank

March 2 Midterm

7 Spring Break

    1. Spring Break




March 14 What the EU Does—Jurisdiction and a "Creeping Competence"

    1. How the EU Does It—The Mechanics of Making Law

21 Environmental Policy

    1. Agricultural Policy
    1. Immigration and Legislating Against Racism in the EU

30 Unemployment and the European Welfare State

Recommended websites for Part III:

Policy Fact Sheets

EU Action Program on the Environment

US documents on EU agricultural policy

Employment and Social Policy




April 4 In Search of Past Glory on the World Stage: The Case of France

6 The EU in the Developing World

11 EU-US Economic Relations

    1. Alternative Visions of European Monetary Union

Scheduled: GSAMS broadcast, speaker TBA

18 Looking Eastward

    1. Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP)

Recommended websites for Part IV:

West European Union


Radio Free Europe on EU Expansion

World Trade Organization




25 Theorizing European Integration

27 Toward Peace, Cooperation, and Prosperity

May 4 Exam (8:00-10:00)




















Note: This course syllabus provides a general plan for the course; deviations may be necessary.

Note: Students are responsible for the information contained in the University’s Academic Honesty Policy Plagiarism will result in a failing grade and possible disciplinary action.

Note: The last day to drop and receive a "W" is March 3.