ASTK18284U Democracy and the European Union

Volume 2020/2021

Bachelor: 15 ECTS

Kandidat: 15 ECTS


Over the last two decades European integration has become increasingly politicized. Where public opinion on the European Union (EU) was once marked by its permissive consensus, the attitudes of EU citizens now often appear as a constraint on integration.

Despite changes within the institutions of the EU designed to enhance its representative legitimacy and shifts in the way political parties interact with the EU, the organization still encounters criticisms of a ‘democratic deficit’.

This course focuses on the relationship between democracy and the EU by tracking the developments of the institutional structures within the union, the interactions between political parties and European politics, and the public opinion and voting behavior of European citizens at the EU level.

The course presents the institutions and political processes of the European Union as they relate to the concepts of democratic accountability and legitimacy. Lectures address the nature of democracy in the EU institutions themselves, the role of democracy in the EU’s foreign policy, and the increasing attention to the quality of democracy within the political systems of the EU Member States. 

Learning Outcome


The course provides a deeper understanding of European integration and the democratic quality of European governance in the European Union’s (EU) internal and external relations.

After completion of the course, the student shall be able to:

•Give an account of the institutions, processes, and practices of the European Union.

•Understand and explain criticisms of a ‘democratic deficit’ within the EU, with a focus on interactions between political parties and European politics, and the public opinion and voting behavior of European citizens.

•Define and describe basic concepts and analytical models regarding regional integration, political legitimacy, democratic representation, and political mobilization.


Students will learn about the institutions and practices of the EU and gain an overview of, and ability to critically reflect upon (orally and in written form), current research on the relationship between European integration and democracy within the social sciences.

•Independently bring together and analyze empirical information with the help of basic concepts regarding integration, political legitimacy, democratic representation, and political mobilization.

•Critically reflect upon various historical, cultural, social, and economic differences between and within EU member states that can have influence on European integration and democracy.

•Present and argue for their own analytical findings orally and in writing


The student should be able to orally and in writing scrutinize and critically assess their own and others arguments and writing on democracy and the European Union.

The readings will consist of academic journal articles and book chapters. There is not a text book. Total reading for the course will not exceed 2100 pages.

The course will consist of a mix of lectures and seminars.
  • Category
  • Hours
  • Class Instruction
  • 56
  • Total
  • 56
Type of assessment
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship

- In the semester where the course takes place: Free written assignment
- In subsequent semesters: Free written assignment

Criteria for exam assesment

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 is 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