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POLS216 Politics of the European Union

The historical development of the European Union, the institutions and politics of the contemporary EU, and the EU’s role in international affairs.

This paper studies the development of the European Union and contemporary issues in European Union politics, such as Brexit, the Eurozone crisis, the rise of populist and nationalist parties, the migration crisis, and Covid-19. The first section examines the historical development of the EU and considers theories of European integration. The paper then focuses on the institutions and policy processes in the contemporary EU. Thirdly, it analyses key policy areas and controversies. The final section analyses potential future enlargement of the EU and the role of the EU in contemporary international affairs, concluding with consideration of the lessons of European integration and its potential future.

Paper title Politics of the European Union
Paper code POLS216
Subject Politics
EFTS 0.15
Points 18 points
Teaching period Not offered in 2023 (On campus)
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $955.05
International Tuition Fees Tuition Fees for international students are elsewhere on this website.

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One 100-level POLS paper or EURO 101 or 72 points
Schedule C
Arts and Music
An interest in national and international affairs is an advantage.
Teaching staff

Associate Professor James Headley

Paper Structure
Four main topics:
  • Development of the EU
  • Institutions and policymaking in the EU
  • EU policies and controversies
  • The EU and the world

Students will be able to access a range of textbooks on the EU in Course Reserve.

Recommended textbook:
John McCormick, 'Understanding the European Union', 8th edition, Palgrave Macmillan, 2020.

Graduate Attributes Emphasised
Global perspective, Critical thinking, Cultural understanding, Ethics, Information literacy, Research.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
Learning Outcomes

Students who successfully complete this paper should be able to

  • Demonstrate an understanding of the theoretical approaches to studying the European Union
  • Show knowledge of issues and themes in contemporary EU politics
  • Display awareness of the relationship between developments in the EU and developments in contemporary international relations
  • Apply their understanding of the EU in written analysis
  • Identify and critically evaluate relevant literature on the politics of the EU

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Not offered in 2023

Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system