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3.14 The European Union in the 21st Century: Internal and External Challenges

Instructor: Dr. Ulrich Brückner
Language of instruction:
Course type:
Subject course, B-Track
Contact hours:
48 (6 per day)
Course days
: Tuesday & Friday
ECTS credits
: 4
Course fee:
€ 1,100
Can be combined with all A-Track courses
  • Syllabus (printable PDF incl. day-to-day schedule)

Course Description

The course will introduce the basics of the European Union and describe and explain the processes of widening and deepening of this unique political entity. This will cover an overview of European Union history, its evolution in economic and political terms as well as of its institutional structure up to today.

Internal politics and policies, for example the decision-making process, the balance of power, identity and democratic questions in this new system of governance will be discussed. Likewise in the realm of external affairs, the Common Foreign and Security Policy, relations with neighbors and with developing countries will be our concern. Particularly important aspects include the discussion on future expansion as well as the consequences of the financial crisis and the Lisbon Treaty. If students express specific interests in other topics or case studies sessions can be adjusted.

The morning sessions consist of lectures, literature based discussions and oral presentations from working groups. After lunch the course will visit various institutions in Germany`s political center. Students will have the chance to discuss the topics from the morning sessions with international experts from political institutions, embassies and think tanks.

Student Profile

Students from different countries, academic levels and backgrounds, who are generally interested in European integration will benefit from each other in an intercultural and interdisciplinary learning process.

Former classes consisted of regular students and practitioners such as civil servants, communication experts, young politicians and even members of parliaments.

The course does not require special knowledge about European politics, law, history or culture, but participants should be interested in more than just their field of specialization.

In class participation, especially in the discussions with experts, is essential for the course success and plays an important role in grading.


The course is designed for students with different academic backgrounds and a general interest in Europe. There are no specific prerequisites for this course.

Required language skills

The language of instruction is English. Language proficiency on an advanced Intermediate level (Mittelstufe II) is a prerequisite for participation. For orientation purposes, you can assess your language skills here (Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR).

Course requirements

Attendance; Active participation in the seminar's discussions and discussions with experts; Oral and written presentation of a certain subject.


  • 40% Participation
  • 30% Oral presentations
  • 30% Final paper


A course reader will be provided.

Recommended Course Combinations (Selection)