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Foreign Policies of the EU (Module)

Module description

Please note that module information is indicative and may change year to year.

This course deals with the foreign policies of the European Union (EU), namely ‘the sum of what the EU and its member states do in international relations’. Given the importance of the EU as an international actor and the range of issues in which the EU and its member states are involved in on the world stage, it is of utmost importance to understand and analyse the extent to which the EU can be described as an actor in international politics, how EU external relations work, which actors are involved in EU foreign policy-making, as well as to consider some contemporary debates on EU foreign policy such as the Ukrainian crisis and the future of transatlantic relations.

Pre-requisites: There are no formal pre-requisites, but students who are unfamiliar with the EU should read a standard textbook on the EU to understand institutional roles and decision-making modes. Students who have not studied foreign affairs or international relations before should also brush up on the classical theories of International Relations beforehand.

Module aims

The module aims to:

Provide students with an understanding of the evolution of the EU as an actor and power in international relations;

Offer an overview of the actors, institutions and policies/tools in EU external relations;

Equip students with the conceptual, theoretical and analytical tools to discuss, evaluate and assess the EU’s role on the international stage, its evolution and performance in light of its complexity, evolving nature and limitations;

Engage with some current debates and key issues in EU foreign policy;

Enable students to discuss the topics of the course and to use what they learn in more policy-driven applications.

Learning outcomes

By the end of the course, the student should be able to:

Discuss and analyse the foreign policies of the EU through the lens of conceptual, analytical and theoretical approaches;

Contrast and evaluate the different aspects of EU foreign policies;

Compare the EU’s action across policies and vis-à-vis countries, assessing EU actorness and the coherence, legitimacy and effectiveness of its policies;

Construct, justify and communicate persuasive arguments targeting different audiences by drawing on relevant literature and sound empirical evidence.

Staff information

Not applicable

Teaching pattern

Two hours per week, one lecture and one seminar

Indicative teaching schedule

Week 1: The evolution of the EU as a global actor
Week 2: Who drives EU foreign policy?
Week 3: Coherence and effectiveness in EU foreign policy
Week 4: Legitimacy in EU foreign policy
Week 5: CSDP and security issues
Week 6: EU-US relations
Week 7: EU-Russia relations
Week 8: The EU, the Middle East and the Mediterranean
Week 9: The EU and international organisations
Week 10: Conclusion: The Future of EU Foreign Policy 

Note that this teaching schedule is indicative and subject to change.

Module assessment - more information

One briefing paper (15%) and one 4000 word essay (85%)

Key information

Module code 7AAOM004

Credit level 7

Assessment coursework

Credit value 15

Semester Semester 1 (autumn)

Study abroad module Yes