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Transnational Politics in Europe


Credits: 4 ECTS

Second semester

Elective Courses




The unparalleled degree of integration and interdependence achieved by European Union (EU) member states has transformed European politics profoundly. The political impacts of the 2008 financial crisis and the 2015 surge in irregular arrivals of migrants laid bare the depth of this interconnection, and the complexity of European politics. This course explores European politics – the sum, combination and interaction of local, national and EU-level politics – beyond EU institutional dynamics.

The goal is to equip students with the tools to understand the limits and possibilities of transnational politics in the European space, and to engage directly and critically with a wealth of material available in Europe, from opinion surveys and polls, to political speeches. Whereas most courses focus on EU policies and institutional processes, this course explores key ideas and movements and their connection to societies and voters.

The course explores the contemporary problems of democracy in Europe, with particular focus on the issues of democracy at the European level and its interaction with national democracies. It also pays attention to ideas and ideologies at the transnational level, from Federalism to Euroscepticism and Nationalism, and the issues connected to technocratic governance or populism. Students will be asked to turn their attention to players like political parties or corporate lobbies, to particular thematic debates (in particular, the one about migration), to influential speeches by political leaders, and to issues of popular support and public opinion.


The course will consist of ten 75-minute lectures (see content below), followed by 45-minute class discussion about the topic, based on a primary document (official document, political speech, opinion poll, report). Students will prepare for that discussion in advance.

In the final two sessions, students will present their essays to colleagues and will recap the main elements of the course together.

Students will need to submit two pieces for this course: a brief commentary of one of the documents debated in the course, and a short essay analysing one particular political transnational debate, decision or campaign in an issue of their choice.

Finally, there will be a written individual exam.

Assessment details:

  • Essay (up to 3500 words, agree topic with teacher): 30%
  • Class participation in debates: 20%
  • Commentary about one primary source (up to 1000 words): 15%
  • Exam paper: 35%

If students have issues with class participation, they can request the possibility of presenting an additional written commentary, which will be valued at maximum 10% of the total assessment.

Students that have disabilities, learning difficulties (such as dyslexia) or other circumstances that may interfere their ability to deliver on the requirements of the course should get in touch with the teacher as early as possible, in order to find the necessary adaptations.

Competences, learning outcomes and teaching activities (PDF)