Politics and policies of the European Union PS3088

This course focuses on the political system of the European Union (institutions and decision making processes) and its key policy areas.


If taken as part of a BSc degree, courses which must be passed before this course may be attempted:

PS1172 Introduction to political science or PS1114 Democratic politics and the State.

Topics covered


  • Parameters of EU integration
  • Competing theories

The political system of the EU

  • The institutions of the EU (the councils, the commission, the parliament, the courts)
  • Policy-making and implementation

Internal policies and their impact on EU and the outside world

  • Single market and competition
  • Regional policy and cohesion
  • Common Agricultural Policy
  • Economic and Monetary Union
  • Justice and home affairs

The External Dimension of the EU

  • Enlargement
  • Common foreign and security policy
  • Trade and the common commercial policy


  • The Future of EU integration. Deepening, widening or consolidating?

Learning outcomes

If you complete the course successfully, you should be able to:

  • Demonstrate a thorough understanding of the European Union, its institutional processes and policies and their impact on European, as well as non-European states and citizens
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the main political processes of the EU
  • Assess the present and future processes of European Integration in light of the main theories, models and concepts used in the EU studies
  • Demonstrate a critical understanding of the EU’s key policies and their impact on the outside world


Unseen written exam (3 hrs).

Essential reading

  • Hix, Simon. The Political System of the European Union. London: Macmillan.
  • Nugent, Neill. The Government and Politics of the European Union. London: Macmillan.
  • Wallace, Helen and William Wallace (eds) Policy Making in the European Union. Oxford University Press.

Course information sheets

Download the course information sheets from the LSE website.