ASTK15628U Seminar: Power relationshops in the European Union

Volume 2015/2016

Elective in the Specialisation "International Relations, Diplomacy and Conflict Studies"


This seminar analyse the power relationships in the political system of the European Union from a quantitative, analytical perspective. Students will be introduced to general theories of political science to analyse and understand how the political system of the European Union works. For each of the main processes in the EU political system – i.e. executive, legislative, judicial politics, public opinion, interest groups, and foreign policies – the seminar derives the main research questions, defines the key political actors, outlines the relevant political theories, reviews the major analytical methods and research designs.

The course will be structured according to the following headlines:


    1. Introduction


I Executive Politics:

    2. Intergovernmental Conferences

    3. Delegation

    4. Government by the Commission


II Legislative Politics:

    5. Legislative Politics in the European Parliament:

    6. Legislative Politics in the Council

    7. EU law amendments

    8. Transposition of EU law


III Judicial Politics:

    9. Enforcement of EU law: Commission vs. Member states

    10. The ECJ as a political actor


IV Politics:

    11. Public Opinion

    12. Interest Groups


V Policies

    13. EU Foreign Policies


    14. Conclusion

Learning Outcome

The objective of this seminar is to enable the students to:

  • Summarize and present the theories of Intergovernmentalism and Supranationalism

  • Review the major arguments and implication of these theories

  • Critically evaluate these arguments

  • Apply these theories to concrete cases

  • Define a research design

  • Conduct an empirical analysis.

This seminar enhances the students’ ability to analyse complex political science research questions from a quantitative, analytical perspective. The seminar will enable students to conduct their own research, i.e. derive interesting research questions, set up appropriate research designs, apply correct statistical models. Furthermore, the seminar will enhance the students’ knowledge about how the political system of the European Union works. The seminar is relevant for students who aim for a career in, for example, the European Union, international organizations, and the public sector.

A list of primary and secondary texts will be available at the start of the seminar. There are two basic textbook for this seminar:


Hix, Simon and Bjørn Høyland. 2011. The Political System of the European Union. Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan.


Robert Thomson et al. (eds.) 2006. The European Union Decides. Political Economy of Institutions and Decisions. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press

The prerequisites for this seminar are basic knowledge of the political system of the European Union, a good working knowledge of research design and quantitative methods.
This seminar will consist of a combination of student presentation, discussions and lectures.
  • Category
  • Hours
  • Class Instruction
  • 28
  • Total
  • 28
7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Written assignment
Individual written assignment
Marking scale
passed/not passed
Censorship form
No external censorship
Criteria for exam assesment
  • Grade 12 is given for an outstanding performance: the student lives up to the course’s goal description in an independent and convincing manner with no or few and minor shortcomings
  • Grade 7 given for a good performance: the student is confidently able to live up to the goal description, albeit with several shortcomings
  • Grade 02 is given for an adequate performance: the minimum acceptable performance in which the student is only able to live up to the goal description in an insecure and incomplete manner