European Politics

Purpose of Course  showclose

The study of Europe, and its role in the world today, is a story of both tragedy and triumph.  From the ashes of centuries of continental conflict through two World Wars and finally into integration by invitation, the European continent has taken what some have deemed the first tentative steps away from the jealously guarded system of sovereign independent states.  With each shaky step away from its near five-hundred-year-old origins in the bosom of Kantian ideals and the Westphalia system (see works cited for Perpetual Peace by Immanuel Kant; the Westphalia system will be discussed in Unit 1), the continent finds itself in conflict with the very nature of its original intent.  Over the past half century, we have seen Europe move away from the world of nation-states and embrace the still largely undefined and constantly evolving idea of member-states.

Yet, Europe and the many states within her bounds also guard their position within the realm of international society.  With states flinching away from cultural encroachment and protecting traditional (and often nationalistic) values, the European experiment has many challenges ahead of it still.  Even as the debate between “pooled sovereignty” (the idea of sharing decision-making power between nation-states) and a “common market” (the idea of eliminating or reducing trade barriers and having a common approach to  external trade within a group of nation-states) winds itself to a shaky but predicted close, the idea of Europe has taken on new meaning with fast growing minorities, the inclusion of much of the former Soviet Eastern Bloc, the aging of social capitalism, and questions of what it means to be a European and how Europe positions itself in a globalized world.

This course will examine the European experiment, paying particular attention to its process of integration into the most powerful supranational entity to have ever existed: the European Union.  We will look at this process and a sampling of its key component historical and political units with a few particular questions in mind: Why has this happened in Europe and not elsewhere in the world?  Why is it happening now?  How has this process impacted the way the world does business?  What possible conclusion can we expect?

The course is divided into four broadly connected yet unique sections that will help us along our journey toward understanding how Europe works.  In Unit One, we will examine how Europe emerged from the Wars of Religion and developed into the system of sovereign states that eventually, through centuries of conflict, would become the Europe we know today.  This will provide important insight into why Europe willingly united despite numerous efforts to accomplish the goal by force.  In Unit Two, we will look at the broadening and deepening of the European Union in the post-World War II environment.  As part of this unit, we will touch on the key institutions that define the EU and the key policies from which European states have willingly pooled their sovereignty.  Unit Three offers a sampling of the major states that make up the EU, or, as in the case of Russia and Turkey, help define larger European dynamics.  We will divide this section into “Old” and “New” to delineate traditional centers of European power from emerging states within modern European politics.  Finally, in Unit Four, the course will take on a sample of important contemporary issues that the EU and Europe face.  From the graying of much of Western Europe to integration issues facing minority populations, this section hopes to tackle many of the challenges that stand in the way of the next steps in European Integration.  We will end this final unit, and the course, by examining the idea of European identity and asking how Europe’s post-modern ideals may challenge to the modern world.

Course Information  showclose

Welcome to POLSC323: European Politics. General information about this course and its requirements can be found below.
 
Course Designer: Dr. Benedict E. DeDominicis
 
Requirements for Completion: In order to complete this course, you will need to work through each unit and all of its assigned material. All units build on previous units, so it will be important to progress through the course in the order presented.

Note that you will only receive an official grade on your Final Exam. However, in order to adequately prepare for this exam, you will need to work through the assessments at the end of each unit in this course. 

In order to pass this course, you will need to earn a 70% or higher on the Final Exam. Your score on the exam will be tabulated as soon as you complete it. If you do not pass the exam, you may take it again. 
 
Time Commitment: This course should take you a total of approximately 47 hours to complete. Each unit includes a time advisory that lists the amount of time you are expected to spend on each subunit and assignment. These time advisories should help you plan your time accordingly. It may be useful to take a look at the time advisories before beginning this course in order to determine how much time you have over the next few weeks to complete each unit. Then, you can set goals for yourself. For example, Unit 1 should take you approximately 11.75 hours to complete. Perhaps you can sit down with your calendar and decide to complete Subunit 1.1 (a total of 1.5 hours) on Monday night, Subunit 1.2 (a total of 4.5 hours) on Tuesday night and Subunit 1.3 (a total of 4.5 hours) on Wednesday night, etc.
 
Tips/Suggestions: It is extremely important that you give each assignment the amount of reading and review necessary to grasp the main points and lines of enquiry.  Also, on completing the assessments, take a moment to consider how the materials you have just studied relate to the topics covered in previous sections of the course.

Learning Outcomes  showclose

Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:
  • Summarize the emergence of modern Europe and the challenge of competing European nationalisms and nation states to European peace and prosperity.
  • Describe the emergence of the post World War II European peace project that has taken primary form in the development of the contemporary institutions of the European Union while addressing the public and foreign policy issue areas of primary concern to Europeans, including economic, development, and security issues.
  • Assess the challenges confronting traditional national state identity among the political communities of West Europe since World War II, which has gained renewed focus with the end of the Cold War and the re-emergence of the question of the relationship of Western Europe to Eastern Europe.
  • Analyze the international and national public policy challenges that continue to determine both the policy agenda within the European Union and the institutional evolution of the European Union to meet these challenges. 

Course Requirements  showclose

In order to take this course, you must:

√    Have access to a computer

√    Have continuous broadband internet access

√    Have the ability/permission to install plug-ins or software (e.g. Adobe Reader of Flash)

√    Have the ability to download and save files and documents to a computer

√    Have the ability to open Microsoft files and documents (.doc, .ppt, .xls, etc.)

√    Be competent in the English language

√    Have read the Saylor Student Handbook.

√    Have completed all courses listed in “The Core Program” of the Political Science Major 

Unit Outline show close


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  • Unit 1: Europe: History and Content  

    In this unit, we will begin to discuss the idea of Europe. The idea of Europe has a beginning as much as it has an end.  In this unit, we will look at key historical epochs in European history in order to better understand the development of the European identity.  In a course of this nature, we can begin at almost any point in Europe’s past depending on what we hope to get at.  Even as we learn history for the analogies that help us better understand the present, we must be mindful that, at best, we can only reach an approximation of the times that existed.  For Europe, we are lucky to have several good points in history that will offer us a better understanding of the nature of the European experience and the foundations of the European Union.  The history of Europe plays a very important role in what it means to be a European.  You will discover that experience and time have created the unique set of variables that define modern Europe. 
               
    To start, we will explore the geography of the European continent in order to better understand the lay of the land that has played such an important role in European development.  From there, we will begin our exploration of European history with the Peace of Westphalia of 1648 that ended the Thirty Years War and the lesser known Eighty Years War.  This important demarcation point marks the effective end of the Holy Roman Empire on the European continent and the birth of the modern nation-state.  The 18th Century was a period of consolidation and definition of the nation-state as actors within Europe took part in Balance of Power games in what has been termed the Stately Quadrille.  However, by the end of the French Revolution (1789-1799) and the beginning of the Concert of Europe (1815), we see Balance of Power games as maneuvers for power and also as diplomatic means to preserve the peace.  This 19th Century European system, although in decline from roughly 1850 onward, would eventually meet its complete collapse with the advent of World I and emerge from the interwar period and World War II fundamentally altered.  At this stage, Europe seemingly looked back upon its history of violence and empire, destruction and power, and developed a will for a new way of doing business.  It was through this long experience of war and trial that Europe arrived at the Cold War and the beginning of the modern European system.  However, this new Europe had divided loyalties between the Soviet Union in the east and the offshore balancer, the United States.  Finally, with the end of the Cold War and the growing closeness of European cooperation, we find that deeper questions concerning European integration and the role of the nation-state need to be answered.  These questions ultimately focus on the challenge of shifting the fundamental loyalty of Europeans away from their nation states towards an emphasis on loyalty to Europe as an integral community. 

    Unit 1 Time Advisory   show close
    Unit 1 Learning Outcomes   show close
  • 1.1 Introduction: The Importance of Geography  
    • Reading: Harper College: Professor Mark Healy’s "Europe: Physical Geography"

      Link: Harper College: Professor Mark Healy’s "Europe: Physical Geography" (HTML)
       
      Instructions: Please read through the brief webpage, and click on the embedded hyperlinks for illustrations of the geographic features of Europe.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

      The Saylor Foundation does not yet have materials for this portion of the course. If you are interested in contributing your content to fill this gap or aware of a resource that could be used here, please submit it here.

      Submit Materials

    • Reading: The National Research Council’s “The Geography of Europe (1918)”

      Link: The National Research Council’s “The Geography of Europe (1918)” (HTML, PDF, EPub, or Kindle)
       
      Instructions: On the left side of the website in the “View Book” box, click on the hyperlink for your preferred method of accessing the text (i.e. read online, PDF, etc.).   Please read this booklet survey of Europe at the end of World War I from pages 11 through 34.  It is descriptive of the climate and geography of Europe.  (Much of the material consists of problem questions for homework, which you do not need to do.)
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • 1.2 The Development of the European State System  
  • 1.2.1 The Peace of Westphalia of 1648  
    • Reading: Institute for International Law and Justice: “The Peace of Westphalia as a Secular Constitution”

      Link: Institute for International Law and Justice: “The Peace of Westphalia as a Secular Constitution” (PDF)
       
      Instructions: Click on the above link.  Scroll down the webpage about ¾ of the way to the link titled “2008 “The Peace of Westphalia as a Secular Constitution,” Constellations 15, no. 2 (2008), pp. 173-188.”  Click on the link, and read the article.  The article summarizes the political significance of the Peace of Westphalia ending the “Thirty Years War” for the development of the modern Europe state.  It established in European law the principle of the separation of the public sphere from the private sphere in the governance of community affairs.  It also formally acknowledged the end of Papal authority over secular state rulers and laid the legal foundation for the principle of the ultimate authority of state authorities over the people and affairs of their respective territories.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

    • Lecture: Yale University: John Merriman’s “Absolutism and the State”

      Link: Yale University: John Merriman’s “Absolutism and the State” (YouTube)
       
      Also available in:
      HTML, Adobe Flash, Quicktime, or Mp3
       
      Instructions: Please watch this entire video lecture (45 minutes). 
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • 1.2.2 The 18th Century European State System  
  • 1.2.3 The 19th Century European State System  
  • 1.3 A Divided Continent  
  • 1.3.1 Era of Global War: 1900-1945  
  • 1.3.2 The Cold War Years: 1945-1990  
  • 1.4 The End of the Nation State?  
  • 1.4.1 Closer Integration  
  • 1.4.2 The United States of Europe or Confederation?  
  • 1.4.3 The End of Sovereignty?  
    • Lecture: iTunes U: Stanford University: James Sheehan’s "The Future of Sovereignty: The European Model"

      Link: iTunes U: Stanford University: James Sheehan’s "The Future of Sovereignty: The European Model" (iTunes U)

      Instructions: Click on the above iTunes U link to Stanford University professor James Sheehan's lecture entitled "The Future of Sovereignty: The European Model," part of the course entitled "History of the International System."  Listen to the entire 47:28 lecture.  As you are listening, ask yourself (and identify how Professor Sheehan answers) the following questions:

      1) What makes Europe distinct, even unique, in international relations?
      2) Can the European model be replicated elsewhere, or is it sui generis (self-generated)?
      3) What are the defining characteristics of sovereignty, and how might they be changing in Europe?

      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Unit 2: The European Union  

    In this unit, we will explore the institutions and policies of the European Union.  The European Union represents the collective economic and political effort of 27 member states as of the inclusion of Bulgaria and Romania in 2007.  However, the European continent is largely represented by the EU as a political and economic whole in that all European states have some degree of connection to this supranational entity though not all states in Europe are members.  As the EU moves, so does Europe as a whole, with a few notable exceptions (namely, Russia and Turkey).

    Of course, the history of the EU does not begin in the present.  In this unit, you will find that the idea of a modern Europe largely began in the ashes of what was discussed in Unit 1: The Peace of Westphalia, the development of the nation-state, and the wars of centuries of attempted Empire.  After the end of World War II, a new idea of what Europe could be began to develop, marking the beginnings of the peaceful integration of the continent.  This modern start surfaced with the 1952 European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) and continued on until its present condition. 

    In Unit 2, we will first look at the expansion and growth of European cooperation and the direction that growth may take in the future.  We will then glance at the various key institutions of the EU with an eye on the limits they have and the reason why they were included in the various treaties and agreements under which they were developed.  We will conclude with a discussion of the major policy areas covered under the auspices of the EU and a current perspective on the degree to which they represent the policies of European states.  Note that EU institutions evolve and change to meet public policy challenges which are often unexpected.  Examples here include the renewed focus on internal security and greater emphasis on EU border control following the terrorist attacks in the United States on 11 September 2001.

    Unit 2 Time Advisory   show close
    Unit 2 Learning Outcomes   show close
  • 2.1 History and Future  
  • 2.1.1 European Union: What It Is and Is Not  
  • 2.1.2 The Post War Beginnings  
  • 2.1.3 Deeper and Wider: From ECSC to European Union  
  • 2.1.4 The Treaty of Lisbon and Next Steps  
  • 2.2 Institutions  
  • 2.2.1 The European Parliament  
  • 2.2.2 The European Council  
    • Reading: European Council’s “The European Council in 2010”

      Link: European Council’s “The European Council in 2010” (PDF)
       
      Instructions: Scroll down to the bottom of the webpage, and click on “Download the brochure here” to access the text.  Please read this brochure (50 pages) for a summary of the activity of the European Council in 2010 in its 7 meetings in addressing both the ongoing and unforeseen major regional and international challenges confronting the EU in 2010.  The European Council is the institutional forum for the formal decision making body of the European Union consisting of the Heads of State and Government of the 27 Member States of the European Union, chaired by the President of the European Council, with the President of the European Commission also a member.  The Treaty of Lisbon, which came into effect on 1 December 2009, formally institutionalized the European Council as one of the seven institutional bodies constituting the government framework of the European Union.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • 2.2.3 The Council of the European Union  
    • Reading: Council of the European Union’s “Guide to the Ordinary Legislative Procedure”

      Link: Council of the European Union’s “Guide to the Ordinary Legislative Procedure” (PDF)
       
      Instructions: Please scroll down to “Guide to the Ordinary Legislative Procedure,” and click on “Download” after “Available in PDF format.  Read this brochure (60 pages) for a description of the role of the Council of the European Union in the legislative process and procedure used in making EU policy for the great majority of EU law as a bicameral chamber alongside the European Parliament.  The “ordinary legislative procedure” covers most EU law, which is concentrated in the European Union’s international and internal economic policy and in EU internal policing and border control policy as the “area of freedom, justice and security.”
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • 2.2.4 The European Commission  
    • Reading: Europa: “The European Commission”

      Link: Europa: “The European Commission” (HTML)
       
      Instructions: Please read the webpage in its entirety.  The European Commission is the executive arm of the European Union but it functions through political collaboration with the member states that by agreement created the European Commission to facilitate their cooperation and integration.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • 2.2.5 The Court of Justice of the European Union  
    • Reading: Curia: “Court of Justice”

      Link: Curia: “Court of Justice” (HTML)
       
      Instructions: Please read this webpage in its entirety for a detailed introductory overview of the historical role of the Court of Justice, focusing on the development of EU law through land mark decisions.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • 2.2.6 European Central Bank  
    • Reading: European Central Bank’s “FACTS Slides”

      Link: European Central Bank’s “FACTS Slides” (Zip, Microsoft Powerpoint)
       
      Instructions: Access the five sets of slides under “Download Slides” by clicking on “Download .zip” hyperlink for each.  Please study these slides carefully.

      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • 2.2.7 Court of Auditors  
  • 2.3 Policies and Politics  
  • 2.3.1 The Advent of a Public and Social Policy  
  • 2.3.2 Economic and Monetary Union  
  • 2.3.3 The Common Agriculture Policy  
    • Reading: Europa: “Policy Areas: Agriculture”

      Link: Europa: “Policy Areas: Agriculture” (HTML)
       
      Instructions: Please read the “Overview” section.  Then, also click on the “Legislation” and “More Information” tabs and read these webpages.  This reading will provide an introduction to the European Union’s commitment to a common agricultural policy as a cornerstone of EU economic integration, as a foundation for European political cooperation, and as a principle of rural social development.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

    • Web Media: YouTube: “EU Set for New Debate on Cutting Farm Subsidies”

      Link: YouTube: “EU Set for New Debate on Cutting Farm Subsidies” (YouTube)
       
      Instructions: Please watch the short news video on the Common Agriculture Policy (7:55 minutes).
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • 2.3.4 Environmental Policy  
  • 2.3.5 Foreign Policy and EU Relations with the United States  
  • 2.3.6 Cohesion and Regional Policy  
    • Reading: Europa: “Policy Areas: Regional Policy”

      Link: Europa: “Policy Areas: Regional Policy” (HTML)
       
      Instructions: Please read the “Overview” webpage, and then click on the tabs for “Legislation” and “More Information” and read each of those webpages.  This reading will provide an overview of the European Union’s policy of reducing European regional economic disparities to support European political integration.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Unit 3: Case Studies in European Policies  

    Unit 3 covers specific case studies in European politics as well as the EU as a whole.  We take as our perspective the classification of Europe as either Old Europe or New Europe (a distinction made popular by U.S.  Secretary of Defense Robert Rumsfeld).  In many ways, other than his context in reference to the lead up to the invasion of Iraq in 2003, this division makes sense.  In the post Cold War environment, Old Europe represented the mostly Western European powers that escaped the clutches of the old Iron Curtain and are often considered the traditional centers of power of European governance.  Of "Old Europe,” Germany, France, and the United Kingdom are perhaps the best representative samples of leading powers.  We include Russia in this context because of the very traditional state power role that it has played in European politics, as one of the five great powers since at least the 1800s.

    In this context, “New Europe” is a reflection of the many states that have spun off of the collapse of the Soviet Union.  As these states began to find a role of their own in the politics of Europe rather than simply being satellites for the Soviets, they fundamentally changed the balance of power in European politics and within the EU.  We will include Poland in our discussion because of its ascension into the EU in 2004 and the impact its population has made on the distribution of power in EU politics.  Ukraine is another good example to explore, because it is the second largest state in Europe and resides in a place of strategic importance as the gateway of Russian energy supplies into the EU proper.  With both the EU and the government of Ukraine desiring closer ties and eventual integration, Ukraine is an important test case for the relationship between Russia and the EU.  Finally, we will take a look at Turkey, a growing power that seemingly rests both in Europe and the Middle East.  The question of Turkey in Europe and as a potential EU member-state provides an import test case for the role of culture and values in the European experiment.  Its potential inclusion begs the question: "What does it mean to be a European?"  European nationalism has played a paradoxical role in European integration.  French nationalism, for example, has both promoted and hindered European integration, while German political identity has taken a civilian form which the European integration project has facilitated.  It will continue to be a critical political force determining the direction and characteristics of European integration.

    Unit 3 Time Advisory   show close
    Unit 3 Learning Outcomes   show close
  • 3.1 Old Europe  
  • 3.1.1 Germany as a Civilian Power  
    • Reading: CAIRN.Info: Karen E. Smith’s “Beyond the Civilian Power EU Debate”

      Link: CAIRN.Info: Karen E. Smith’s Beyond the Civilian Power EU Debate” (HTML or PDF)
       
      Instructions: Please read the article for an overview of German foreign policy since World War II until the wars in the former Yugoslavia, which marked a watershed in German foreign policy.  In Yugoslavia, Germany deployed and threatened the use of deadly force since the Second World War to enforce a peace settlement among the warring parties in Kosovo, an area outside of NATO’s traditional area of operations.  Subsequently, Germany would also deploy forces in Afghanistan as part of NATO, while refusing to deploy forces in Iraq.  Germany now has troops deployed in several ‘out of area’ operations.  Germany’s transition into a ‘civilian power’ has happened under the aegis of European integration, but the author concludes that the EU is no longer a ‘civilian power.’
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • 3.1.2 The French Exception: The Power of Identity  
    • Reading: The Political Studies Association: Helen Drake’s “Sarkozy, France, and ‘Political Europe’”

      Link: The Political Studies Association: Helen Drake’s “Sarkozy, France, and ‘Political Europe’” (PDF)
       
      Instructions: Please scroll down the webpage until you reach Helen Drake’s “Sarkozy, France and ‘political Europe’” (note the authors are listed alphabetically by last name).  Click on the “View” hyperlink for this title, and read this conference paper in its entirety.  It summarizes the strategy of France to find a place for French nationalism in Europe since World War II within the context of European integration.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

      The Saylor Foundation does not yet have materials for this portion of the course. If you are interested in contributing your content to fill this gap or aware of a resource that could be used here, please submit it here.

      Submit Materials

  • 3.1.3 UK: Transnational Bridge to the U.S.  
  • 3.1.4 Russia: The Defense of Sovereignty  
    • Reading: ISN, Center for Security Studies: Andrei Kokoshin’s "Real Sovereignty and Sovereign Democracy”

      Link: ISN, Center for Security Studies: Andrei Kokoshin’s "Real Sovereignty and Sovereign Democracy” (PDF)
       
      Instructions: Please click on the PDF icon after “Download” in the middle of the webpage to open the PDF file.  Read the file in its entirety (14 pages).  Written by a Russian author, this article presents the prevailing view among the Russian political authorities of the challenges Russia has faced since the disintegration of the USSR in 1991.  In addition to security challenges to Russia’s territorial boundaries in the Chechnya, it also highlights the challenges from Russia’s comparative economic underdevelopment as a source of weakness in maintaining Russian sovereignty over its vast territory rich in natural resources.  (Note: the reading for Ukraine in subunit 3.2.2 illustrates how powerful nationalist political interests within Russia view Russia as having special access rights to the territory of countries belonging to the former USSR, especially to the territory of the other Slavic states, Belarus, and Ukraine.)
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • 3.2 New Europe  
  • 3.2.1 Poland: an Awkward Partner  
  • 3.2.2 Ukraine: Europe's Energy Bottleneck  
    • Reading: CDI: James Sherr’s “The Mortgaging of Ukraine’s Independence”

      Link: CDI: “James Sherr’s “The Mortgaging of Ukraine’s Independence” (PDF)
       
      Instructions: Please scroll down the webpage, and click on the hyperlink after “Access the Full Briefing Paper Here.”  This briefing highlights Ukraine’s current relationship of increasing economic and political dependence upon Russia for energy supplies.  It highlights the pro-Russian orientation of the eastern portion of Ukraine, which is the power base of the current President, Victor Yanukovich.  In return for subsidized Russian gas supplies, Ukraine has agreed to extend for many years Russia’s current use of the large naval base at Sevastapol, Ukraine as the headquarters for its Black Sea fleet, thereby effectively guaranteeing that Ukraine will not join NATO or the EU in the foreseeable future.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • 3.2.3 Turkey: Paradox of Identity  
  • Unit 4: Select Issues in European Politics  

    In this unit, we delve more deeply into the European integration project.  The European project is a story of some pretty amazing successes.  From its very early beginnings in warfare and Empire through its modern incarnation, no other system of states has managed to come as far as the EU has in terms of shunning old habits of sovereignty and security.  As Director-General for External and Politico-Military Affairs for the EU and noted scholar Robert Cooper  has argued, the Europeans have embraced a very Post Modern sense of being, where states willingly accept "mutual interference" in one another’s affairs.  To explain this differently, rather than solving their issues on the battlefield, each member-state willing allows its neighbor a vote on how to handle its affairs.  This, of course, does not mean the Europeans have entered into a post-political world.  Rather, if anything, issues that would not normally be political in nature have become hyper-political.

    As we draw this course to a conclusion, we will look at a snapshot of some of the most pressing issues in European Politics today.  For example, much of post-industrial Western Europe is experiencing a graying of the population that threatens to bankrupt the social systems that helped draw Europeans through the Cold War.  With populations growing older and birth rates declining, many of these states are experiencing a surge in minority populations that have been traditionally isolated from mainstream European life.  Further confounding these demographic trends is the blurring of the political lines of the EU, which has allowed the free movement of cheap labor from Eastern Europe into the heart of western European society.

    Setting aside demographic and social pressures, Europe is also experiencing renewed security threats that have evolved in our more globalized society.  Terrorism and transnational crime, while not new, have taken on new meaning in the age of the Global War on Terror and easier access to weapons of mass destruction (WMD).  Tensions in the Middle East and missile proliferation issues find their centers literally on Europe's front door, even as Europe feels the pinch from the much tighter energy market that exists in the twenty-first century.  While no one seriously expects major war to break out in Europe in the foreseen future, the Europeans find themselves needed in the quest to keep a more secure international environment. 

    We conclude the course with perhaps the most pressing of issues in European politics today: What does it mean to be a European in the modern world?  How much of the nation-state are Europeans willing to give up in order to form this new identity as a European?  And finally, what role should Europe play in the international environment?  The adoption and implementation of the answers to these questions constitute the substance of European Union policy making in the twenty-first century.

    Unit 4 Time Advisory   show close
    Unit 4 Learning Outcomes   show close
  • 4.1 Demographics  
  • 4.1.1 Demographic Trends across Europe  
  • 4.1.2 Minority Population Trends  
  • 4.1.3 Migration Trends  
  • 4.1.4 Integration and Assimilation Issues  
    • Reading: Newsweek: Stefan Theil’s “Europe’s Big Choice”

      Link: Newsweek: Stefan Theil’s “Europe’s Big Choice” (HTML)
       
      Instructions: Read this article in its entirety (3 pages).  Use the “Next” button at the end of the text to navigate to each subsequent page.  This article highlights the importance of migration for Europe’s continued economic development while facing resistance from rising xenophobia in European societies.

      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • 4.2 Political Culture  
  • 4.2.1 Religious Attitudes  
    • Reading: Euractiv: “European Values and Identity”

      Link: Euractiv: “European Values and Identity” (HTML)
       
      Instructions: Click on the above link to the Euractiv website, and read the entire text, which summarizes the debate about the relationship of religion to European identity and European integration. 
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • 4.2.2 Civil Society  
  • 4.2.3 The European Welfare State  
  • 4.2.4 Electoral Availability and Parties  
  • 4.2.5 Human Development and Income Distribution  
  • 4.2.6 Social Cohesion  
    • Reading: The Western University of Ontario’s Department of Sociology: W. Omariba’s “Social Cohesion in Europe: A Bibliography”

      Link: The Western University of Ontario’s Department of Sociology: W. Omariba’s “Social Cohesion in Europe: A Bibliography” (PDF)
       
      Instructions: Please scroll down to the 2002 Papers and Publications section about half way down the webpage.  Click on the “Full Paper” hyperlink for the title “Social Cohesion in Europe: A Bibliography” to download the PDF file.   Read the entire paper (20 pages) as a summary of research on sociological trends in Europe by a number of European research projects, focusing on the impact of globalization and EU economic and monetary union on tendencies towards harmonization of social welfare policies.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • 4.3 European Security Issues  
  • 4.3.1 Energy Concerns  
  • 4.3.2 Terrorism  
  • 4.3.3 Transnational Crime and Illicit Trade  
  • 4.3.4 Nuclear Proliferation  
  • 4.3.5 External Threats  
  • 4.4 A European Identity  
  • 4.4.1 Evolution or Devolution?  
  • 4.4.2 Discovering the Dual Identity; State and Europe  
    • Reading: IWM: Avraham Rot's "Constructing Identity and Embracing Boredom in United Europe"

      Link: IWM: Avraham Rot's "Constructing Identity and Embracing Boredom in United Europe” (HTML)
       
      Instructions: Please click on the above web link to read the article.  The article highlights the problem of lack of European national public self-identification with the institutions of the European Union.  The “boredom,” which results in lower European political participation rates in EU elections, is not necessarily an indication of a failure to create a European identity community, and European political theorists have noted that the rise of technocratic politics in complex modern societies produces an apathy that is at least peaceful.

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  • 4.4.3 A Question of Democracy  
  • 4.4.4 A Europe in the World  
    • Reading: Alexandra Giroux's "A Europe of Cultures or a Culture of Europe?"

      Link: Alexandra Giroux's "A Europe of Cultures or a Culture of Europe?" (HTML)
       
      Instructions: Please read the short article.  This article highlights that Europe’s strong regional and national identities are not going to fade.  Rather, a new community identity based upon Europe as a regional territorial community with a commitment to multicultural diversity as an organizing principle will and must be the basis for constructing a European people: a demos. 
       
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  • Final Exam