Introduction to the European Union
What you'll learn
- Understand how the EU works today
- Understand the EU’s main institutions
- Recognise the EU’s core policies
- Recognise the main EU treaties
- Explore the European Commission
- Explore the Council of the EU
- Explore the European Council
- Explore the European Parliament
- Explore the EU Court of Justice
- Understand how the EU makes laws
- Recognise the forms of EU law
- Understand the Single Market
- Understand the euro currency
- Understand the Schengen Area
- Recognise major EU debates
- Recognise the evolution of the EU
- No prior knowledge of the European Union is needed for this course
- Awareness of politics may be helpful to make the most of the course
The European Union – most often called “the EU” – is a collection of European states that have joined together to pursue common policies for mutual benefit. With a history beginning in the aftermath of the Second World War, the EU has evolved profoundly over the decades from its early roots as a coal and steel community.
Today, the EU is a political alliance, an economic sphere and a geopolitical bloc. It has dedicated policies, its own legal system and “supranational” institutions like the European Commission. It is an intrinsic part of the lexicon of contemporary international relations. Above all, the European Union is a project – and it is far from complete.
At the same time, the EU is complicated. Its political and policy workings are multilayered and complex. It faces serious internal and external challenges and crises. Opinions differ within and between the EU’s members on its policies, decisions and future. Understanding the EU and the latest news about it calls for a suitable foundation.
Introduction to the European Union offers you an opportunity to build that foundation on the EU.
This course provides a substantive introduction to the institutions, policies and politics of the European Union. It explores how the EU works today in an informative and accessible way. The course is ideal for decision-makers, professionals, students and observers seeking to establish a grounding in the workings of the EU in practice.
Intro to the EU is instructed by Anthony Salamone, the founder and Managing Director of European Merchants, the Scottish political analysis firm based in Edinburgh, Scotland. A political scientist, Anthony is one of Scotland’s leading experts on the politics and institutions of the European Union.
With this course, you will study the European Union in four core dimensions:
The EU’s institutions – what the EU’s main institutions are and how they work, focusing on the European Commission, Council of the EU, European Council, European Parliament and EU Court of Justice
EU law – how the EU makes laws and what the different forms of EU law are, including regulations, directives, decisions, recommendations and opinions, along with the body of EU law, the acquis
Core EU projects – how the EU functions through three of its defining projects, focusing on the Single Market (economics and trade), the euro (currency) and the Schengen Area (migration and travel)
EU politics – what the EU’s major debates are and how its politics at European and national level operate, including on issues related to what the EU does, how the EU does it and what the EU should be
The course covers the fundamentals of the European Union in ten sections:
Section 1: European Union – Begin by establishing an overview of the European Union, including its major institutions, core policies and main treaties
Section 2: European Commission – Explore the workings of the European Commission, including the College of Commissioners and a Commissioner’s cabinet
Section 3: EU Council & European Council – Explore the workings of the EU Council and the European Council together, including the EU Council presidency
Section 4: European Parliament – Explore the workings of the European Parliament, including elections to the Parliament and its two seats of Brussels & Strasbourg
Section 5: Court of Justice of the EU – Explore the workings of the EU Court of Justice, including the primacy of EU law and the preliminary reference procedure
Section 6: Making Laws – Look at how the EU makes laws, including the Acquis communautaire (its collective body of law) and the forms of European Union law
Section 7: Single Market – Explore the operation of the Single Market, the EU’s economic and trading sphere, including the Four Freedoms and other principles
Section 8: Euro – Explore the operation of the euro, the EU’s single currency adopted by most members, including the European Central Bank and the Eurogroup
Section 9: Schengen Area – Explore the operation of the Schengen Area, the EU’s travel zone, including the Justice and Home Affairs Council and Schengen Visa
Section 10: Politics and Debates – Conclude by considering the politics of the European Union, including treaty change and debates on the future of the EU
Intro to the EU consists of a collection of original and tailored videos, presentations, articles, handouts and quizzes designed and produced by Anthony Salamone. It includes four downloadable handouts on the basics of the EU, the forms of EU law, the principles of the Single Market and the treaties of European integration.
The course is self-paced, so you can progress through the material at your own convenience. If you would like to build a foundation to understand the EU in practice, join us for this introduction to the European Union!
Who this course is for:
- Decision-makers who want to enhance their awareness of the European Union as a system
- Professionals who want to build a foundation to understand the European Union in practice
- Students who want to consolidate their knowledge of the EU’s institutions and policies
- Observers who want to improve their skills to follow current developments shaping the EU
Anthony Salamone MA (Hons) MSc FRSA is the Founder and Managing Director of European Merchants, the Scottish political analysis firm based in Edinburgh. A political scientist, Anthony is one of Scotland’s leading experts on the politics and institutions of the European Union. He is equipped with more than a decade of academic and policy experience on European and international affairs. Among his previous roles, Anthony created and was lead educator of the University of Edinburgh’s online course on the UK’s EU membership referendum. He is a member of the Edinburgh Europa Institute at the University of Edinburgh. A regular public speaker, Anthony has contributed to media outlets and publications across Scotland, Europe and the world.