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icono de curso

European Union and its immediate surroundings


Credits: 4 ECTS

Second semester

Elective Courses




Future accessions and constructive relations with non-candidate neighboring countries have been top–priority on the European Union’s agenda ever since the early days of the European Community. A set of elaborate EU policies have consequently been developed to deal countries in its immediate surroundings. Analysts have called the Union’s enlargement and neighborhood policies ‘laboratories’, for innovative international relations. While most regional powers (e.g. the US, China) are likely to develop special relations with geographically close countries, the EU’s policies toward its candidate and non-candidate countries have been perceived as very different for their attempts to apply non-standard formulas to inter-state relations and (for better or for worse) seeking to chart new roads in global politics.

The objective of this course is to introduce the students to the principal issues related to the EU as a sui generis foreign policy actor, its enlargement policy and its neighborhood policies as they have evolved since the end of the Cold War. The main thrust of the course will be on outlining the institutional and political mechanisms of these differentiated set of policies, as well as examine their practical effects in candidate (Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, Serbia, The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia [FYROM] and Turkey) and non-candidate neighboring countries (Algeria, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Egypt, Georgia, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Moldova, Morocco, Palestinian Authority, Syria, Tunisia, Ukraine). The course also aims to offer students a deepened insight into some of the most controversial debates surrounding the EU’s relations with these countries, such as for example, the Turkish application for EU membership, if there are limits to EU enlargement, the EU’s difficult relations with Europe’s other power, Russia, and the Union’s attempts to export values and norms to non-candidate neighbors.


The final grade is the sum of the following criteria:

  • Final Essay and oral presentation 40%
  • Country Report and oral presentation 60% (Sessions 3-5, 8-10)

The Final Essay consists of a 2,500 words essay on the EU’s relations with either a candidate country or a neighbouring country in relation to specific sectorial policies. The draft Final Essay will be presented in Session 12. The teachers will provide specific instructions for the essay towards the end of the course.

The Country Report consists of (a) writing a research report on a specific topic and country (1-2 pages) and (b) presenting it to the class in the pertinent session. The teachers’ evaluation of this exercise will take into account the relevance of information provided in the Country Report as well as the structure and clarity in the oral presentation. The final partial grade will be based on the average of the four best grades of the Country Reports. In order to get a full grade at least four presentations must have been realized and Reports turned in to the teachers.

The classes will be based on active learning methodology (student-centered learning), whereby students assume responsibility for a predominant part of their individual learning experience both inside and outside of the classroom. It should thus be noted that the course objectives can only be achieved if students come prepared to each session in terms of readings and/or assignments, as well as engage actively in each session.