6 ECTS credits
150 h study time

Offer 1 with catalog number 6007587FEW for working students in the 1st semester at a (F) Master - specialised level.

1st semester
Enrollment based on exam contract
Grading method
Grading (scale from 0 to 20)
Can retake in second session
Taught in
Faculty of Economic & Social Sciences & Solvay BS
Political Science
Educational team
Youri DEVUYST (course titular)
Activities and contact hours
26 contact hours Lecture
Course Content

This course provides students in the Master programme in European Integration with a solid insight in the EU’s foundational principles and decision-making processes.

The approach to the course is multidisciplinary. Insights from history, economics, law and politics are indispensible to gain an understanding of the evolution of the European construction. During each class, relevant current events shall be highlighted and discussed.

Throughout the course, an active use will be made of the EU's primary law (i.e. EU Treaties) and secondary law (i.e. EU regulations, directives and decisions). Students shall be guided through such texts with a view of gaining the ability to read and interpret them independently.


The main subjects covered during the course are:

1. The basic principles underpinning the European Union’s political order (a law-based system – primary, secondary and tertiary EU law; principles of conferral, subsidiarity and proportionality; categories and areas of EU competence) 2. The historical development of European integration (from the European Coal and Steel Community to the Treaty of Lisbon; enlargement from the 6 to 28 Member States and beyond); 3. The EU's political system and decision-making (European Council; European Commission; Council of Ministers; European Parliament; the interaction between these institutions and the outcome of EU

decision-making: regulations, directives, decisions, delegated acts and implementing acts; interest representation/lobbying during the law-making process); 4. The EU and the world (brief introduction to external trade policy and CFSP).

Additional info

Students take note during the lectures. No powerpoints are used as they tend to prevent interactivity and on the spot adaptation of the course content, which is often needed in a course treating a subject that is in full evolution. Students are actively encouraged to bring up points for discussion or for further explanation.

Students should bring to class the consolidated versions of the Treaty on European Union and of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. These two Treaties constitute the basis of the course and will be used on a permanent basis.

Students who wish to have additional guidance are recommended to use Neill Nugent, The Government and Politics of the European Union (Palgrave Macmillan). During the first class, a detailed course overview is distributed that indicates the chapters that are relevant for this course.

It is expected that students compose their own study material, based on an integration of the lectures and class discussions, and the Treaty texts (possibly supplemented by the relevant parts of the recommended book).

To guide the students in this exercise, the list of questions with which they can be confronted during the final exam is distributed during the first class. Instead of assimilating a "ready-made" book, the idea is that students participate in an active manner in the exercise of structuring their replies and distilling the essence out of a mass of information. As such, they "learn to learn".

Learning Outcomes

Algemene competenties

  • Students gain insight in the history, decision-making and foundational principles underpinning the European Union and acquire the knowledge and skills to understand and interpret past evolutions and current events shaping the European construction.
  • Students acquire the technical ability to read and understand the EU's primary law and secondary law texts.
  • As the course is taught in the English language, students acquire the knowledge and skill to understanding and use the specialised vocabulary on European integration in the English language.

The learning objectives and examination requirements are identical for both variants of the course.


The final grade is composed based on the following categories:
Written Exam determines 50% of the final mark.
PRAC Presentation determines 50% of the final mark.

Within the Written Exam category, the following assignments need to be completed:

  • Written Exam with a relative weight of 1 which comprises 50% of the final mark.

    Note: Multiple choice questions and a short essay during exam with closed books

Within the PRAC Presentation category, the following assignments need to be completed:

  • Presentations during sessions with a relative weight of 1 which comprises 50% of the final mark.

    Note: Oral presentations or written short essay, depending on number of students, during sessions.

Additional info regarding evaluation

Exam: written + oral exam

Students take a final exam at the end of the semester (usually on a Saturday).

Possible exam questions are distributed to the students during the first day of classes. Students thus have an entire semester to prepare themselves and gather the elements to answer the questions. Each of the exam themes is also discussed in class.

The exam is structured as follows:

  • Students receive one broad question (out of the list of known questions), covering a large part of the course.
  • Students are asked to put a structured reply on paper. This written part of the exam takes approx. 1 hour and is "closed book".
  • The written part is followed by an individual discussion between student and professor. During this oral part, students can be asked to clarify unclear, incomplete or incorrect elements in the written answer. Additional questions can be asked.

The grade is calculated on the basis of the written paper, and can be adjusted in light of the oral clarifications provided by the student.

Examples of exam questions:

  • Compare the attempts to create European organisations in 1945-1949 (OEEC, Council of Europe) with the creation of the European Communities in the 1950s. What are the essentials of the Community method in comparison with the intergovernmental method?
  • Explain the influence of the end of the Cold War on the development of the European Union.
  • Analyze the evolution of the EU’s external trade policy.

Students can obtain a bonus point (+1) by submitting a short report on two books from a reading list distributed at the start of the semester.

Academic context

This offer is part of the following study plans:
Master of European Integration: Track 1_Economic Integration: European Economy - Migration and Europe
Master of European Integration: Track 2_Economic Integration: European Economy - European External Relations and Security Policy
Master of European Integration: Track 3_Economic Integration: European Economy - European Environmental Governance
Master of European Integration: Track 4_European Politics and Social Integration: Migration and Europe - European Environmental Governance
Master of European Integration: Track 5_European Politics and Social Integration: European External Relations and Security Policy - Migration and Europe
Master of European Integration: Track 6_European Politics and Social Integration: European Environmental Governance - European External Relations and Security Policy