European Union Politics & Simulation module (PO32007)

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Module code


Module Aims

  • To provide a practical and grounded experience of politics, decision making and negotiation in the European Union.
  • To offer a deeper knowledge of the dynamics of EU politics and decision making.
  • To provide knowledge and understanding of the development and functioning of the European Union, its politics, institutions, decision-making, and negotiations.
  • To develop an appreciation of the range of political and institutional influences that have shaped the EU's development.
  • To provide the students with an interdisciplinary understanding of the European Union, its cultural, historical, sociological and political understanding, and its representation and life in Britain;
  • To provide an interdisciplinary understanding of Europe to students who would not normally gain deeper knowledge on these matters;
  • To introduce the students to the key concepts and debates informing the development of European Studies.
  • To develop the students' skills of interdisciplinary textual analysis. 
  • To provide the opportunity to develop transferable skills such as the negotiation of different interests and the ability to defend a point of view in the workshops.

Module Details

This module aims to provide students with a practical and grounded experience of politics, decision-making and negotiation in the European Union. It provides an overview of the key historical junctures in the integration process, including the polemical path to the Lisbon treaty, and the basic institutional structure of the EU. It then examines key policy areas including the single market, economic and monetary union, agriculture, justice and home affairs and foreign and security policies. A number of key issues are also examined, including Europeanization and enlargement, EU relations with Turkey and Cyprus, the EU’s so-called ‘democratic deficit’ and Euroscepticism.

This is a special module on the European Union – a simulation module. This teaching strategy is pursued within the unique structure of a workshop. Teaching will take place through lectures and workshops (seminars) delivered in a block, and ongoing negotiations using Blackboard distance learning technology, (i.e. My Dundee). Lectures will introduce the basic information necessary for comprehending each segment of the module and identify key issues for further reflection.


Seminars/workshops are organised by assigning students within national, EU institutional and other teams.

These teams will then be provided with supporting briefing material, reading lists and an overall scenario. Their task will then be, over the course of the module, to act within their roles in simulated EU negotiations and decision making.

Throughout the course of the module the scenario will evolve both as a result of the students’ own progress in negotiation but also as a result of ’external’ events inserted by the module convenor.

In a final one-day ‘summit’ setting the scenario will be concluded at a negotiating session modelled upon a European Council summit. Students will be supported by audio-visual aids and interactive handouts.

The assessment of the learning outcomes will give students from the various programmes choices that are particularly tailored to the inter-disciplinary needs of their respective programmes.


This module is assessed as follows: essay (50%) and report (50%)

Intended Learning Outcomes 

Having successfully completed this module, you should:

  • have acquired a detailed knowledge of the EU and its representation through extensive reading
  • have acquired a practical understanding of decision-making in the European Union
  • have acquired a practical understanding of the issues of Crime, Policing and Terrorism in the EU
  • be able to identify and explain the main issues of 'European studies'
  • have critically appraised the dynamics behind EU politics and decision making
  • have critically appraised the conceptualisations, the political, historical, cultural and sociological understandings of Europe
  • be able to locate and assemble information on the EU by their own research
  • be able to organise your material and articulate their arguments effectively in writing
  • have critically appraised your acquired negotiating skills and transferred them into different contexts

Through the negotiation process, you will learn to manage time pressure, and make concise explanation of their arguments.

In addition, you will:

  • have practiced your oral and written communication skills
  • have developed research skills
  • have demonstrated research techniques
  • be able to apply a range of methodologies to complex problems

The essays will develop your critical capacities to assess both political and documentary evidence, and to make written arguments in a coherent, structured and persuasive way.

By participating in workshops, you will increase your confidence in making oral arguments and giving short presentations before an audience.

The workshop format will further encourage you to discuss and debate of differing viewpoints.

Indicative Reading

  • F. Cameron., An Introduction to European Foreign Policy.  (London: Routledge, 2006)
  • M. Cini (ed.)., European Union Politics. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003)
  • D. Dinan., Ever Closer Union. (Basingstoke: Palgrave, 1999)
  • J. Friedrichs., Fighting Terrorism and Drugs. (London: Routledge, 2005)
  • C. Hill and M. Smith., (eds.) International Relations and the European Union. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005)
  • S. Hix., The Political System of the European Union. (Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2nd edition, 2005)
  • P. Ludlow., The Laeken Council.  (EuroComment: Brussels, 2002)
  • D. Mahncke, Wyn Rees, and W.C. Thompson., Redefining Transatlantic Security Relations – The Challenge of Change.  (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2004)
  • V. Mitsilegas, J. Monar, and W. Rees., The European Union and Internal Security – Guardian of the People? (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2003)
  • S. Peers., EU Justice and Home Affairs Law. (London: Longman, 2nd ed., 2006)
  • J. Peterson and E. Bomberg., Decision-Making in the European Union. (Basingstoke: Macmillan, 1999)
  • J. Peterson and M. Shackleton., (eds), The Institutions of the European Union. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002)
  • J. Richardson., (ed.), European Union: Power and Policy Making. 3rd ed. (London, Routledge, 2006)
  • B. Tonra and T. Christiansen., (eds.), ‘Rethinking European Union Foreign Policy’. (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2004)
  • H. Wallace and W. Wallace., (eds), Policy-Making in the European Union. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 5th edition, 2005)
  • Wyn Rees., Transatlantic Counter-Terrorism Cooperation. (London: Routledge, 2006)
  • Warleigh (ed)., `Understanding European Union Institutions´. (London: Routledge, 2002)


30 credits