How the European Union works: become easily an EU expert
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How the European Union works: become easily an EU expert

What is the EU? Many in Europe don't know, even in EU countries. In this course, you'll be enabled to follow EU news.
3.5 (5 ratings)
Instead of using a simple lifetime average, Udemy calculates a course's star rating by considering a number of different factors such as the number of ratings, the age of ratings, and the likelihood of fraudulent ratings.
35 students enrolled
Created by Alain de Raymond
Last updated 9/2017
Current price: $10 Original price: $20 Discount: 50% off
5 hours left at this price!
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  • 3 hours on-demand video
  • 11 Articles
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of Completion
What Will I Learn?
  • Understand what EU Commission does
  • Explain what EU countries do in the EU
  • Answer the question 'What is the European Union?'
  • Follow EU news organisations and understand their language
  • Find all the EU legislation's history
  • Know how the EU money is spent
  • Explain why some are anti EU
  • How an EU vote affects the EU
  • Understand what the EU Parliament does
View Curriculum
  • A pen and paper can help
  • No previous knowledge is needed, but it can help

How the European Union works: become easily an EU expert

The European Union (or shorter: EU) has a big impact on the lives of people living both inside and outside the EU. Some professors say that over 70% of the laws of the EU countries are based on decisions of the EU.

However, very few citizens know or have the feeling they know what’s going on in ‘Brussels,’ the heart of the EU. Who is important and who’s not? How big is the budget? Why are there lobbyists? Is it democratic? Can I make a difference?

These are questions that are so basic that it’s difficult to imagine there is no clear answer. 

A course for beginners

And that's what you'll learn in this course: to explain what’s really going on. It’s meant for persons who are interested in being able to follow and explain EU news. By explaining the EU step by step, with basic terms, you’ll learn who decides what and when.

Students studying international politics may also be interested. The course gives a thorough introduction of how the EU makes decisions. At the end of each of the ten sections, there are relevant links to learn more.

All the EU actors

You’ll start by learning the EU language and the main political actors in the first 5 sections, how laws are voted in section 6 followed by a section on the budget. You’ll also learn why people dislike the EU, and the remaining actors are covered in the last 2 sections.

You’ll also see a number of misconceptions and learn whether they are true or not. For example, how big the EU's budget really is. Or why EU countries aren't the only form of European Union.

Enrol today!

By the end of the course, you'll be able to explain how the European Union makes its decisions, what impact Europe has on you in your everyday life, what impact you can have on the European Union, and how you can get most out of the EU. So let's get on the road to become an EU expert!

You'll also get a free ebook to guide you in the course.

I guarantee:

  • Full, free lifetime access
  • All future extra lectures and upgrades are always included for free
  • Unconditional Udemy 30 day money-back guarantee

Happy learning,


Who is the target audience?
  • Persons that understand English and that want to learn how the European Union works
  • Students wanting to understand European Union debates
  • News readers who want more background on European Union news stories
Compare to Other European Union Courses
Curriculum For This Course
50 Lectures
Introduction: the European Union
4 Lectures 14:34

Welcome to the course on the European Union! Let's see what you can expect to learn, how it's structured, for whom it's meant and who's the teacher.

Preview 02:30

What is the European Union? A simple question, but difficult to answer. So let's see some of the answers given to that question and how we can define what the European Union is in general terms.

Preview 03:08

When persons active in the European Union talk about their jobs, it's hard to follow the conversation. It seems like they're speaking another language. Let's see why that is so.

Preview 08:13

Here we'll see some interesting links related to the EU's languages and the European Union's definition.

Preview 00:43

The EU: introduction
6 questions
The European Council
4 Lectures 17:00

Let's see what we're about to learn in this section, as well as what institutions are...

Preview 01:46

Let's go and see the European Council at work! In this lecture, we'll take a close look at the meetings the European Council holds.

Preview 08:13

The European Council is more than just the meetings. We'll learn about how these meetings are prepared, what the rules of the meetings are, and what impact the meetings have on the European Union.

Preview 06:23

Some interesting links about the European Council, and some other background figures.

Preview 00:38

Let's see if you understood everything about the European Council - get ready for an exercises and a few questions.

The European Council
6 questions
The European Commission
4 Lectures 18:35

An overview of what we're all going to see in this section about the European Commission.


The Commission: who's who

What does the European Commission do? We'll learn it in this lecture.

The role of the Commission

More info

The European Commission
8 questions
The Council of the European Union
4 Lectures 14:09

What we are going to see about the Council of the European Union in this section.


Who sits in the Council? How does it vote? Does it have an own administration? Let's take a closer look.

Who's who

What does the Council do? We'll look for an answer here.

The role of the Council

Links for those that don't have enough of the Council.

More info

In this quiz, we'll do exercises to check whether you've understood the Council of the European Union well.

The Council of the European Union
6 questions
The European Parliament
5 Lectures 26:20

Let's introduce the European Parliament: it represents the EU's citizens.

Introduction: the European Parliament

What does the elections change to the Parliament? Well, it changes the composition of the Parliament. If all EU citizens voted for right-wing Parliamentarians, the EU would have more right-wing decisions.

The Parliament and the European elections

What does the Parliament do? And how does it organise itself, so that it does not descend into chaos?

The Parliament's tasks and organisation

Who's the strongest: the Commission, the Parliament or the Councils?

Who's the strongest?

Some interesting links for finding more information about the European Parliament.

More info

The European Parliament
4 questions
Voting EU laws
6 Lectures 34:57

Let's see what we're going to learn in this section: treaties and the other laws.

Intro: making laws in the EU

Treaties are the 'foundations' of the European Union. Let's see why and how they can be changed.

The architecture: treaties

For smaller decisions, treaties are not used. Instead, directives, regulations and decisions are made.

Laws: the procedures

Let's follow one concrete example of a law that has been made.

One example

Let's conclude the lectures on EU laws with the most important points.


Links about the lawmaking process.

More info

Did you pay a lot of attention? Good, let's do some exercises and have some questions...

Laws in the EU
6 questions
The European Union's budget
5 Lectures 19:51

This lecture introduces us to the section, and we'll try to compare the EU's budget to other things which are worth the same.

The budget: how big is it really?

Where does all the money of the EU's budget go? We'll find out in this lecture.

Who receives?

So who's exactly paying for the EU budget? We'll also see which member states contribute to the budget, and which ones receive.

Who pays?

We'll conclude the EU's budget with some important remarks.


Interested in more? Find out with these links.

More info

The EU budget
4 questions
5 Lectures 17:35

What is Euroscepticism, and what kind of politicians are Euroscepticists? Let's find out, and see an example.

Intro & example

The reasons why Euroscepticists are against (a part of) what the European Union does.

Euroscepticists' arguments

How can we see Euroscepticism is rising? There are many ways to check how widespread the EU's criticism is.

Measuring Euroscepticism

Conclusion of this section about Euroscepticism.


Interesting links for those that wish to learn more about Euroscepticism.

More info

6 questions
Other EU organisations
4 Lectures 13:43

Introducing this rather short section of the remaining EU institutions and organisations, let's start with the European Central Bank or ECB, located in Frankfurt.

The European Central Bank

The Court of Justice of the European Union is there to clarify the legal problems of the European Union, and give solutions to these problems. It is located in Luxembourg.

Court of Justice

The Court of Auditors is - not so surprising - the institution that does the audits. We'll also see the other 'bodies' of the European Union.

Court of Auditors and other 'bodies'

Some links if you don't have enough of the EU organisations...

More info

The other EU institutions and bodies
2 questions
The other players
7 Lectures 21:39

So which organisations are also involved in the EU, but are not official EU organisations?

Introduction: the non-EU players

Do the parliaments of member states have an influence on the European Union? Let's find out.

National parliaments

Citizens can have an impact on EU policy - let's see how.


Ngo's, just like think tanks and lobbies, have an interesting product for EU institutions: information.

NGO's, lobbies, think tanks

How persons can inform themselves about the European Union without participating, is via the media. Let's find out more about their role.


What role do non-EU countries have? Let's take a look.

Other countries

More links for all the topics discussed in this section.

More info

The other players
6 questions
1 More Section
About the Instructor
Alain de Raymond
4.2 Average rating
112 Reviews
1,270 Students
9 Courses
Udemy teacher

Hi! I'm Alain.

Curiously, when I was a teenager, many language teachers told me I wasn't so good at languages. My Dutch was poor. My English teacher even advised me to follow extra courses.

I discovered I loved languages when I went to Germany in 2010. I had some basic German skills but started to speak in German from day one. What I got in return was amazing: friendship, love, respect and a good level of German. Since then, I'm passionate about languages.

Now I'm proud to be able to express myself in French, Dutch, English, German, Maltese and Spanish. I also have some Portuguese notions. And I'm always busy learning new languages and taught some of my languages via tutoring.

I also have a life besides languages. I love economics, politics and all the processes that shape our society. I worked in communications a few years and hold 3 degrees: in Journalism, EU Studies and Management.