Skip to main content
KBS_Icon_questionmark link-ico

Go to…

Why understanding Europe is more important now than ever

There has never been a more important time to understand Europe, its culture and political structures at what is a critical juncture for the UK.

europe-1456245_960_720
Gain new insights into Europe, the UK, and the world with the Department of European and International Studies.

Insight into the European Union’s policies and decision-making processes will be more important than ever after Brexit, as the UK seeks to influence and shape policy without a seat at the top table or a vote on key decisions.

And, with economies and governments across the continent looking at new ways of working following the coronavirus pandemic; policy, integration and trading relations will take centre stage for nations both inside and outside the union.

The Department for European and International Studies is renowned for its expertise on the European Union in the world and the global political economy, and the department also prides itself on taking a multi-disciplinary approach, embracing a broad understanding in its European Studies programme.

Christoph Meyer, professor of European and international politics, said: “European Studies as multi-disciplinary field of inquiry is about more than just the study of the European Union or European integration. It looks just as much at what happens within and across European states and regions, using a range of disciplinary angles. We have always embraced this broader understanding of European Studies.

“The EU due to its economic, regulatory, and, in key areas, also political convening power will remain highly important to the UK. Geography is destiny as the saying goes. Even outside the customs union and the single market, the UK will remain strongly affected in economic, security and environmental terms by what happens on the continent and the decisions taken in Brussels and national capitals.” 

Magnus Ryner, professor of international political economy, said: “European studies at King’s is more than European Union studies. If your perspective is primarily centred around Britain, you will only have a limited understanding of Britain unless you study it in a broader European and global context. This entails, for instance, the study of comparative European studies, international relations and the cultural determinants of European national identities. Arguably Brexit is only one chapter in this story that spans at least two millennia.

“While being a member of the European Union, Britain’s engagement with the other member states took place through the highly regularised patterns of EU governance. Brexit entails a return to a more complex politics of traditional statecraft. This means that it is more important than ever to understand the politics, economics, culture - including language - and society of the main counterparts such as Germany, France and Spain.”

Brexit entails a return to a more complex politics of traditional statecraft. This means that it is more important than ever to understand the politics, economics, culture - including language - and society of the main counterparts such as Germany, France and Spain– Professor Magnus Ryner

Dr Russell Foster, lecturer in British and European politics, said: “Brexit is just the beginning. Creating a new relationship between the United Kingdom and the European Union will take years, maybe decades. And that relationship will affect every part of British society. The EU will be the UK's biggest trading partner. The UK-EU relationship will have a major influence on economics, politics, law, society, and culture, from international treaties through to mobile roaming charges.

“Britain is leaving the EU, but the EU will be our closest partner throughout the 21st century. To understand this emerging relationship, we need to study Europe through politics, economics, sociology, law, history, geography, art, and diplomacy. A degree in European Studies will give you these skills.”

Find out more about the European Studies MA here.

In this story

Magnus Ryner

Magnus Ryner

Professor of International Political Economy

Christoph Meyer

Christoph Meyer

Professor of European & International Politics

Russell Foster

Russell Foster

Lecturer in British and European Politics (AEP)