Department of Political Science


The European Union in the World

Course Code


Course Tutor

Dr Nick Wright (Department of Political Science)


2,000 word policy-brief (60%) and 1,000 word negotiation-brief (40%)

Credit Value


About this course

This module analyses the European Union’s role in global politics. Students learn to explain and critically assess the EU’s actorness, effectiveness and influence across the range of its foreign policies. The module first introduces the conceptual and normative debate about Europe's global role; discusses the origins of the EU as a global actor; and familiarises students with the institutions, instruments and decision-making of EU foreign policy. 

We then analyse key issues of external governance, including trade, aid and development, crisis management and conflict resolution, as well as “soft” foreign policy questions such as climate change and the external dimension of internal security and migration. The module concludes by looking at EU enlargement and Europe’s “near abroad”.

In all sessions, the module puts a premium on applying theories of European integration and International Relations to current political challenges and developments, and to training policy-relevant skills. As part of the course, students simulate a crisis meeting of the EU’s Foreign Affairs Council, and their assignments are a negotiation-brief and a policy-brief.

By the end of the module, students will have

  • acquired an in-depth knowledge of the EU’s global role across all its external policies;
  • discussed key questions and challenges of EU external relations;
  • learned to conceptualise and evaluate Europe’s foreign policies;
  • learned to critically assess empirical evidence and present theoretical arguments;
  • trained transferable skills for the analytical study of politics and policy-making, including the development of negotiation strategies and the writing of policy-briefs.