Spring Semester 2002

Tuesday, Thursday 9:30-10:45

527 General Classroom Building

Dr. William M. Downs

Department of Political Science

Georgia State University


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, immigration and racial politics, environmental policies, and the quality of democracy in the EU. The course explores the political dynamics of decision-making among member states and institutions, including the Council of Ministers, 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, NATO and other multinational organizations. It concludes with a look at the "New Transatlantic Agenda" (US-EU relations), recent and ongoing trade wars, and the challenges of expanding the EU to include countries formerly shrouded by the Iron Curtain as well as countries whose "European" credentials have long been questioned.

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. For more information, see



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

David M. Wood and Birol A. Yesilada. 2002. The Emerging European Union. 2nd edition. New York: Longman.

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

E. Gene Frankland, ed. 2002. Global Studies: Western Europe, 7th edition. Guilford, CN: McGraw-Hill/Dushkin.

Notes on Articles and Chapters: Additional readings will come from select journal articles and book chapters, which will be made accessible to you via the electronic course reserves at DocuWeb. These readings may be accessed through DocuWeb ( and printed directly from your own computer or from a university computer. The documents are password protected, and we will discuss the details of using DocuWeb early in the semester.


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 WebCT 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.

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 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 will 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 You can also use a search engine on the Web to find recent headlines from the EU ( Additionally, you can watch "European Journal," which airs each Sunday locally on WPBA 30.

Examinations. Two in-class examinations (midterm exam and final) 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, assets, and constraints. 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 April 16, while the other half of the class will write on a different topic due April 18). These assignments will require each student to use traditional research methods, such as library research, and the World Wide Web.

Paper 1 (January 17): Member State Background Paper

Paper 2 (February 7): Analysis of 1999 European Parliament election in Member State

Paper 3 (February 26): Think piece--Will monetary union succeed or fail?

Paper 4a (April 16): Debate—Do the benefits outweigh the costs of adding new members?


Paper 4b (April 18): 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.

Office Hours. I keep office hours each Tuesday and Thursday from 11:00-12:30. 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.

Grade Distribution:

Paper 1 5%

Paper 2 10

Paper 3/Debate 10

Paper 4/Debate 10

Class Participation 10

E-participation 5 (+5 bonus)

Midterm 20

Final Exam 30




January 8 Introduction to Course



January 10 Out From the Rubble and Ashes--The Transformation of Western Europe

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

    1. From European Community to European Union


22 Maastricht and Amsterdam Treaties

24 The EU Today…and Enlargement on the Horizon

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





January 29 Introduction to Theories of Integration and Institution-building

January 31 The Commission and the Politics of Supranationalism

February 5 Council of Ministers and the European Council—Intergovernmentalism at Work

    1. European Parliament and the "Democratic Deficit"


12 European Union Law and the Courts

14 Committee of the Regions

    1. Stateless Nations and the EU

21 European Central Bank and the Single Currency in Action

26 Monetary Union Debate

Recommended websites for Part II:

European Commission

Council of the European Union

European Parliament

Court of Justice

Eur-Lex (European Union Law)

Committee of the Regions

European Central Bank


February 28 Midterm


March 5 Spring Break

7 Spring Break





March 12 What the EU Does—Jurisdiction and a "Creeping Competence"

14 How the EU Does It—The Mechanics of Making Law


19 Environmental Policy

21 Agricultural Policy


26. Immigration and Legislating Against Racism in the EU

28 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 2 In Search of Past Glory on the World Stage: The Case of France

4 The EU in the Developing World

9 EU-US Economic Relations

    1. EU Looks East

16 Enlarging the EU

18 Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP)

Recommended websites for Part IV:

West European Union


Radio Free Europe on EU Expansion

World Trade Organization



23 Theorizing European Integration

25 Toward Peace, Cooperation, and Prosperity


May 2 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 11.