European Politics and Economy

Course code
Course fee (excl. housing)
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The European Union (EU) is a political partnership between 28 democratic European countries. With almost 500 million citizens, it has become a major player in global politics. In this course, the European Union is the main object of study. You will be introduced to the Union's history, institutional structures, current aims and future challenges. Lectures will explain the historical background and the various stages of integration. Other themes that you will examine include the role of European leaders, the future political expansion of the EU, transatlantic relations and the development of a shared foreign policy and development aid.

This course offers you an introduction to the political landscape of Europe. Central to the course is the European Union (EU), a political partnership which has become a major player in global politics. You will start with discussing the historical background of the European Union, which originated from a long process of political and economic integration that started after the Second World War and culminated in the formation of the EU by the Treaty of Maastricht in 1993. Several lectures will give insight into the various stages of integration, the role of European leaders and the present Euroscepticism and resistance to the European project. For example, the French and Dutch refusal to ratify the European Constitution. Other issues include the future political expansion of the EU, transatlantic relations, and the development of a shared foreign policy and development aid.

Another theme of this course is the system of governance within the European Union. Consisting of the European Parliament (representing the people of Europe); the Council of the European Union (representing national governments); and the European Commission (representing the common EU interest). Also, you will learn about the role and function of the various other European institutions such as the European Court of Justice and the European Central Bank.

The last theme focuses on regional and cultural diversity within Europe, discussing the position of various countries and regions within the larger European family, or the role of Europe in the world. The main venue for the course is the city of Utrecht. The program includes an excursion to the city of Brussels, where you will visit the European Parliament and if possible, the NATO headquarters. Overall you will experience an intensive two-week program with lectures and seminar groups. Together with other students you are expected to work on group presentations and assignments.

NB: This course is part of the track 'Doing Business in Europe'. 

Download the day-to-day programme (PDF)

Course director

Dr. Jonne Harmsma

Target audience

The programme is especially designed for students coming from countries outside Europe. It is open to all students with a keen interest in the functioning of the European Union and (European) politics and economy in general. The course has a focus on political sciences, and in offering this as a broad framework it is an excellent preparation for other summer courses in the field of culture and European studies.

Course aim

The aim of this course is to introduce the participants to the historical, economic and political aspects of the nations within the European Community. The course will study both the development towards a united Europe and the enduring diversity of national cultures within Europe.

Study load

A minimum of: 7 lectures (120 minutes); 4 seminars (90 minutes); 1 day excursion; 1 exam; 1 certificate ceremony.


Course fee:
Course + course materials
Housing fee:

Housing through: Utrecht Summer School.

More information

Utrecht Summer School | E: | T: +31 30 253 4400


Application deadline: 01 July 2020