EU policy and policy making

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Economic, social and foreign policy

Course leader: 
Live dates: 
Monday, 21 February 2022 to Sunday, 5 June 2022
Live meetings: 
Thursdays at 12.00 Bucharest
Global rating: 
Total votes: 3

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Aims and scope: 

In this course you will discover what the EU does in the different policy fields, such as economic policy (single market, EMU), social policy (citizenship, agriculture, regions), and foreign policy (trade, development, CFSP), and use that knowledge as a basis for you to understand how the EU works. This course differs from traditional courses in EU institutions and policies in that it features an open-up and problem-solving approach. Instead of spending the first half of the course explaining how EU institutions work, the course will present you with actual contemporary cases of EU policy from the very start. This approach has great potential to engage you by stressing the practical applicability of the topics you will study, and will also encourage you to apply analytical tools to the solution of actual problems. Specfically, the course will introduce you to economic and policy analysis, which will serve you as a foundation for more advanced studies or as an analytical tool that you will be able to transfer directly into a non-academic career. Weekly seminar questions and discussions on important topical issues will encourage you to develop other useful skills, such as the ability to research independently, offer and receive peer review, and manage discussions with others to elucidate an issue.

The questions that this course will analyse are empirical, theoretical, and normative. Firstly, from an empirical perspective, we will try to offer a detailed account pf what the the European Union does in the different policy areas, from economic policy, to social policy and foreign policy. We will need to answer questions of the type: Do external border regions grow more slowly than others? Is the EU budget regressive? Is the EU more protectionist than the US? Second, from an analytical perspective, we will try to explain this reality with the help of positive theories from the economic and political realm. Why does the economy of the North East region of Romania not grow as much as others? Why is so much emigration? Why is food more expensive in the EU than in the US? Why is the North East region of Romania receiving so much EU funding? Why does the ESF fund postdoctoral fellowships in countries with poor basic education systems? Why has a trade agreement with Mercosur taken more than 20 years to negotiate and is not yet in force? Finally, we will also apply the results of the previous evidence-based analytical exercise to the understanding of different citizen and leader opinions on controversial normative debates the EU is facing or will face over the next decade. Should a Google tax be imposed by the EU? Should Romania join the Schengen area or the Eurozone? Is the Stability and Growth Pact too strict or too flexible? Is EU competition policy too tight? Should the EU enlarge to Ukraine or Moldova? Should there be a European army? Should trade with the US or China be liberalised? Should a common external tariff be applied to fuel imports?

The key to unlocking this course is twofold. On the one hand, EU policies affect citizens differently depending on their social group or territory, which generates differences in their preferences for those EU policies. On the other hand, these political conflicts are resolved by aggregating those preferences through the current institutional system of the EU. Only after analyzing both the underlying political conflicts over EU policy and the rules of the EU policy-making game, will we be able to understand the outcome of the EU policy process.

Methodology: 
This twelve-week course will consist of a series of live lectures, face to face seminars and online written discussions.
Topics: 

INTRODUCTION: 1. The European Union: political conflicts, democratic institutions and public policies. Why aren't good policies always good politics? The scientific study of the EU. Deduction and induction. Structure of the course: an open-up approach? SINGLE MARKET POLICIES: 2. The common market: the first EU policy. The theory of economic integration: preferential trade agreement, free trade area, customs union, common market. Common market: tariffs and quotas, common external policy, mobility of production factors: labour and capital. The social and regional effects of the common market: winners and losers from trade and factor mobility. National effects of joining the common market: trade creation and trade diversion. If Moldova joined the EU customs union, which trade effect would prevail, trade creation or trade diversion? 3. The single market. Non-tariff barriers: physical, technical and fiscal barriers. Mutual recognition and harmonization. Economic impact of the single market. The single market for services. The Digital Single Market. Is Romania's car tax a fiscal barrier to trade? 4. Single market policies: competition, industrial and competitiveness policies, fiscal harmonization, transport, energy, environment. Why is the EU's competition policy more restrictive than its American counterpart? 5. Economic and Monetary Union. Theory of optimal currency areas (OCAs). The evolution of EMU. How EMU works. The European Central Bank. The Stability Pact. The Sixpack. SOCIAL POLICIES: 6. The EU budget. Financing the budget. Own resources. Why is the revenue side of the EU budget regressive? 7. Common agricultural policy. Theory, practice and impact. Evolution and reform. Why is food more expensive in the EU than in the US? 8. Regional policy: theory, practice and impact. Why is regional policy conditional? 9. Social policy. European Social Fund. From labor mobility to EU citizenship. The Schengen area, citizens' rights, justice. Erasmus. Why was the CJEU so decisive in the promotion of an EU social policy? FOREIGN POLICIES: 10. The common commercial policy. The World Trade Organization. Trade deals. Trade defense measures. Why did the EU treaten the UK with trade on WTO terms in case of no Brexit deal? Why is the EU-Mercosur trade deal so difficult to agree? 11. Immigration policy. Development policy. Common foreign and security policy. Military co-operation. Economic sanctions. Do economic sanctions against Russia work? 12. EU enlargement. Brexit.

Indicative reading: 

Wallace, H., M.A. Pollack, C. Roederer-Rynning, and A.R. Young (eds) (2020). Policy-Making in the European Union, Eighth edition. Oxford University Press; El-Agraa, A. (2015). The European Union Illuminated: Its Nature, Importance and Future. Palgrave Macmillan. Chapters 4-6; El-Agraa, A.M. (2011). The European Union: economics and policies, Ninth edition. Cambridge University Press. Chapters 6-25; Hix, S. and B. Hoyland (2011). The Political System of the European Union, 3rd edition. Palgrave Macmillan. Chapters 8-12.

Teaching modules: