European Institutions - 1st semester


This course aims to help students understand how the European Union works and give them the skills to analyze political and economic decisions made on a European level. The teacher will be explaining who the main European Union players and institutions are, what their roles are, their competences and powers, and how they have evolved since European communities were created so that students may understand the mechanisms that explain this evolution.

General characterization





Responsible teacher

Catherine Moury


Weekly - 3 letivas + 1 tutorial

Total - Available soon

Teaching language





J. PETERSON & M. SHACKLETON. The Institutions of the European Union. Oxford, OUP, 2006 (todos os capítulos).
Os estudantes deverão também ter lido o caderno de textos fornecido pela professora acerca do funcionamento da União Europeia, disponível no Moodle.

Teaching method

The teaching method used will include and foster a general and multidisciplinary debate among all students. Each student will make two simple and brief (five-minute) presentations over the semester. As well as participating actively in class, students must write and hand in a project, the first version of which will be presented to the whole class during the semester.

Evaluation method

Students will be assessed on their participation in class (33%), on their written work (33%) and on the oral presentation of their work (33%). Participation in class includes the number of lessons attended, the answers to two questions (of the list indicated below) and their capacity to answer questions regarding the compulsory reading material.

Subject matter

1. Introduction
Objectives, syllabus, assessment methods, guidelines for written work, etc.)
2. Introduction to how the EU works
What is the EU? How does it work? What is the institutional triangle? Why is the EU difficult to understand and interesting to study?
3. Institutional changes since the Treaty of Rome
Review of treaties and institutional changes since the Treaty of Rome.
4. The main European institutions, their composition, functions, competences and informal powers
The European Commission, the European Council, the European Parliament, the European Court of Justice, the Central European Bank, regional committees, social and economic committees, and other minor institutions.
5.How the European Union works
a) The source of European law: treaties, jurisprudence, basic act and act of enforcement.
b) The adoption of European legislation: procedures for the revising of treaties, legislative procedures (co-decision and consultation) and implementation of laws (guidelines and comitology)
c) Representation of interests in the European Union: lobbying
6.Simulation of a Council of Ministers’ meeting
At the end of the course, students will participate in a simulation of the European Council where they will discuss various matters and adopt resolutions. Students will choose which country they represent and the teacher will represent the President of the European Commission and write a law proposal.
7. Presentations