Study-Unit Description

Study-Unit Description


TITLE Agenda-Setting in the European Union

LEVEL 03 - Years 2, 3, 4 in Modular Undergraduate Course


DEPARTMENT European Studies

DESCRIPTION The study-unit is designed to provide advanced theoretical and substantive knowledge about the institutions, actors and processes responsible for the rise and fall of policy problems in the political agenda of the EU, as well as about how these processes affect substantive aspects of key EU policies.

The study-unit will consist of fourteen 2-hour lectures. The study-unit will be organised in two complementary thematic teaching sections:

1) EU agenda-setting. Institutions, actors, processes.
This section of the course will deal with a) key aspects of agenda-setting processes, in general and in the context of the EU; b) the role of EU institutions in setting the agenda of the EU; c) the role of interest groups, political parties and civil society in setting the agenda of the EU; d) the role of Member State governments in setting the EU agenda; d) the impact of the EU political agenda on Maltese politics and policy.

2) EU agenda-setting and public policy.
This section will deal with EU agenda-setting processes in seven key areas of EU action, notably immigration, the environment, the Mediterranean, economic governance, foreign aid, agriculture and fisheries, institutional reforms. Single lectures will illustrate for each policy when, how and why it entered the EU agenda; as well as the relationship between agenda-setting processes and key policy actors, outputs and outcomes.

By the end of the study-unit, students will have gained the instruments to analyse EU policy processes and understand the complex interactions behind the determination of EU policy priorities.

Study-unit Aims:

The objective of the study-unit is to provide Bachelor degree students with the theoretical and methodological instruments to analyse EU agenda-setting processes in a variety of policy domains.

1. Knowledge & Understanding:

By the end of the study-unit the student will:
- Be able to identify the main approaches to and instruments for analysing EU agenda-setting processes;
- Be able to describe the process whereby the EU defines its policy priorities;
- Be able to identify the key actors and institutions relevant to EU agenda-setting;
- Be able to identify EU priorities in key policy areas;
- Have gained the instruments to analyse EU policy processes and understand the complex interaction behind the determination of EU policy priorities.

2. Skills:

By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:
- Accurately analyse the impact of EU priorities on the domestic political agenda;
- Explain the main features of single stages of the EU policy process;
- Critically assess the policy priorities of the European Union, and the actors and processes behind their change.

Main Text/s and any supplementary readings:

Main Texts:

Baumgartner, Frank, and Bryan Jones. 2009. Agendas and Instability in American Politics. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Princen, Sebastiaan. 2009. Agenda-setting in the European Union. London: Palgrave Macmillan.
Versluis, Dr Esther, Dr Mendeltje van Keulen, e Paul Stephenson. 2010. Analyzing the European Union Policy Process. Palgrave Macmillan.

Supplementary Readings:

Howlett, M., M. Ramesh, e Anthony Perl. 2009. Studying Public Policy: Policy Cycles and Policy Subsystems. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
John, Peter. 2012. Analyzing Public Policy. 2nd ed. Routledge.
Wallace, Helen, Mark Pollack, e Alasdair Young, cur. 2010. Policy-Making in the European Union. 6th ed. OUP Oxford.



Assessment Component/s Assessment Due Resit Availability Weighting
Assignment SEM1 Yes 75%
Presentation (20 Minutes) SEM1 No 25%

LECTURER/S Andre Paul Debattista

The University makes every effort to ensure that the published Courses Plans, Programmes of Study and Study-Unit information are complete and up-to-date at the time of publication. The University reserves the right to make changes in case errors are detected after publication.
The availability of optional units may be subject to timetabling constraints.
Units not attracting a sufficient number of registrations may be withdrawn without notice.
It should be noted that all the information in the description above applies to study-units available during the academic year 2021/2. It may be subject to change in subsequent years.