History of the European Union


The construction of the EU is arguably one of the most exciting and controversial political experiments today. After an introduction on the historiography of European integration, the course will explore integration dynamics as well as possible explanations behind the nature of the project itself. How could Member States initially decide to delegate their sovereignty in key areas of policy competence? Have they remained the central actors in the course of the integration process, or are supranational institutions and transnational actors increasingly involved? How have external pressures and internal momentums interacted in explaining integration dynamics? Finally, what kind of project have national, supranational and transnational actors committed themselves and European citizens to? In answering those questions, the course combines economic history with international relations history and Political Sciences approaches.

General characterization





Responsible teacher

Madalena Pontes Meyer Resende


Weekly - 3

Total - 280

Teaching language



The course aims to give the student:
A deep knowledge of the development of European integration in the context of the end of the II World War and its adaptation to the end of the Cold War. Students are expected to acquire not only a precise knowledge of the main international processes, its mechanisms and the functioning but also the circumstances and constraints influencing the pursuit tis objectives.
The basic understanding theoretical issues involved.
An understanding of the specialized literature.


- Dinan, Desmond, Europe Recast: a History of the European Union, Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2004.
- Urwin, Derek William, The Community of Europe: a History of European Integration since 1945. London: Longman, 1991.
- Dedman, Martin, The Origins and Development of the European Union 1945-95. London: Routledge, 1996.

Teaching method

Classes are in the seminar-format. The professor will usually start by introducing the topic, so as to give students benchmarks as to where the discussed authors stand in the literature. Class discussions and debates follow. It is therefore crucial, for discussions to be fruitful and interesting, that students arrive to class having read the suggested articles in the reader. Towards the end of the class, a student will be giving a presentation, which will be no longer than 30 minutes. Students, in their presentation, are expected to answer a specific question given by the professor. When the topic of students presentation is more introductory, the presentation will precede in-class debates. At the end of the class, the professor will summarize the main points raised.

Evaluation method

Available soon

Subject matter

Week 1: Introduction.
Week 2: Historiography of European integration.
Week 3: Europe After the War: the End of the War, Federalism and the Hague Congress.
Week 4: The Schuman Plan for Coal and Steel, 1950-52.
Week 5: The European Defence Community, the European Political Community and the Road to the Rome Treaties.
Week 6: The 1970s: the stagnant decade for European integration?
Week 7: ‘The Politics of Judicial Integration.
Week 8: The Single Market Programme: setting the path for a neo-liberal project?
Week 9: Negotiating the Maastricht Treaty on European Union, 1991-92.
Week 11: The Road to Amsterdam: a flexible Europe?
Week 12: Explaining the big European Enlargement.
Week 13: The Constitutional Treaty: democracy and legitimacy in the EU.
Week 14. Conclusion.


Programs where the course is taught: