Document Type

Undergraduate Syllabus


Summer 2003



Course Number

DIPL 2111-6010

Course Description

The European Union is a unique entity in the international system. It is an effort by independent sovereign states to create a supranational institution, governing political, economic, and social issues. This is an unprecedented development in the history of states and the international system. How did the European Union come into being? What would cause sovereign states to overcome their individual nationalistic interests and forge a single, supranational governing institution?

In this course we will examine the process of European integration, from a historical and a current perspective. There are three primary objectives to this course. First, we will analyze the creation of the European Union, starting from the initial Coal and Steel Agreement, proceeding through the European Economic Community and the European Community to the present European Union. We will examine the gradual integration of the European Union as a process of political, economic and social deepening and widening. In particular we will examine the “three pillars” that support the European Union of today: the economic pillar, the security pillar, and the Justice and Home Affairs policy pillar.

Second, we will examine the institutions that comprise the European Union, in order to understand the institutional structure facilitating the integration of the countries of the EU. In particular, we will examine the role of the European Commission, the Council of Europe and the European Court of Justice in the integration process. Third, using our knowledge of the European integration process and the institutional structure of the European Union, we will examine the current efforts to expand EU membership to the transitional economies of Central and Eastern Europe. This expansion will present political, economic, and social challenges to the countries of the EU. EU members have conflicting interests and incentives regarding EU expansion to the East. We will explore some of these issues and discuss how European expansion will affect the institutional structure of the EU and its policy mandates.

This is a unique course. Not only will we be reading about EU integration and expansion, we will be visiting the very institutions involved in these processes! We will supplement our readings of these institutions with actual briefings and visits to the European Commission, the European Parliament, and NATO, to name a few. This is an unusual opportunity to learn about the EU through personal interaction with officials, ambassadors, and diplomats. Enjoy!