Jamal Shahin » Teaching » EU External Relations with the Southern Mediterranean in an International Context (EXRE-SEISMIC)

EU External Relations with the Southern Mediterranean in an International Context (EXRE-SEISMIC) Syllabus Semester 1, Block 2, 2013-2014


The online version of this document (entitled: EU External Relations with the Southern Mediterranean in an International Context (EXRE-SEISMIC)), available from this link is considered to be the official version of this document.

Course aims

The aim of the module is to facilitate a deeper understanding of the European Union’s (EU) external relations in the Southern Mediterranean (SM), and in particular to help engage students in debates on the evolution in the EU’s external relations machinery. After initial theoretical considerations on the role of the EU as a global actor, the teaching will focus on the participation of the EU in actions directed towards the Southern Mediterranean. This region will be used as the point for evaluation of concrete EU policy initiatives.

The module is comprised of a number of seminars and events – PES, student conference – where students can debate with different actors involved in the design, implementation and evaluation of EU external relations within the context of international institutions. The project will gather various insights from primary and secondary literature as well as first-hand insights from practitioners in the field. We shall cross over disciplines via engagement with staff and students from Law, Politics, Geography, History and ES in order to create an environment where students can engage with invited speakers in a way that enhances understanding of the complexity of the subject at hand.

By the end of the course, students will:

Study load and time required

It is estimated you will need to allocate 50% of your working time as a minimum (that is approximately 20 hours per week) for this course. This will be spent on preparation for and participation in the group seminars, group work, completing the deliverables for this course, and participating in the Practitioner Engagement Series (PES). The amount of effort may vary from week to week, but we try to ensure that the workload is spread throughout the course.

You are required to read as a minimum all the articles in the [course schedule][] for each week of the course. An additional requirement is to keep informed through regular reading of current news sources: the Financial Times, The Economist, European Voice and EurActiv as examples. See [Assessment and feedback][] for details on deliverables. From week one onwards, you should be thinking about all your deliverables. It is in your interest to use the literature from the weekly seminars and information from the PES to help write your final paper.

Given the nature of the course, participation is compulsory in all the meetings mentioned in the [course schedule][]. A medical certificate or documentation provided by a University official will be required in cases of absence.

Time and place of class

Classes are held every Thursday between 1pm and 4pm in PCH519, and on Wednesday/Thursday evenings (PES) between 6pm and 8.30pm in PCH104. See the schedule (below) for more information. Thursday seminars will have a break halfway through of 15 minutes.


In addition to the office hours and other means of communication, I am available primarily through email for queries about the course. Please put [EXRE] at the beginning of your subject heading if your email relates to the course. Failure to do so will most likely delay my response to your question. Please resend any unanswered mail after four (working) days.

Please use email sensibly: questions that can be more efficiently dealt with in class should be raised there.

Course schedule

All literature in the list must be read before the class. This is an absolute prerequisite for participation in the seminar: you will be asked to leave the room and be marked as absent if you have not done the work. Participation in the Practitioner Engagement Series (Wednesday or Thursday evenings) is compulsory for this course. Further information will follow as to the events. There will be three in Block 2.

Week 1 (31/10) - EU external governance - No QSQs necessary

Week 2 (7/11) - Multilateralism and IOs: EU performance (home work) - No QSQs necessary

How can the EU’s role in intrnational institutions be improved, and does the influence of the EU have a positive impact on world affairs?

should be read in the context of the following:

Week 3 (14/11) - Neighbourhood - No QSQs necessary

Key Question: How have the EU’s external relations towards the Southern Mediterranean (notably the Middle East) evolved in recent years?

Week 4 (21/11) - Barcelona Process - Don’t forget your QSQs

Key Question: What is the interplay between EU Foreign Policy and the European Union’s external relations vis-à-vis its neighbours?

Week 5 (28/11) - The European External Action Service - Don’t forget your QSQs

Key Question: Has the EEAS delivered the ‘needed’ coherence and effectiveness required by the EU (and the world)?

Week 6 (5/12) - Middle East Peace Process - Don’t forget your QSQs

Key Question: What role has the EU played in the history of the process, and what potentials exist for future action?

Week 7 (12/12) - Arab Spring / presentations

Key Question: How has the EEAS reacted to the Arab Spring, what role can it claim in the uprisings?

Study materials and costs

All study materials for this course are available through the UvA digital library, through subscriptions available to UvA students via the library, on the shelves in one of the UvA libraries, on blackboard, or through the Internet (www or email). You are encouraged to develop your own list of reading materials in parallel to those on the list in this course manual. Feel free to share these with the entire group.

Students are strongly encouraged to visit and use the resources physically available in the University’s libraries. Although most material for the course is available on your computer, books should be consulted. High grades are impossible to award for papers written through Worldwide Web resources alone.

Assessment and feedback

Your overall grade for the course must be 5.5 or above: this means that individual elements of the course may not reach this threshold. Your general grade will reflect your overall participation in the course in addition to the quality of the final deliverable. This will relate to your willingness to engage with reading and lecture materials, and your ability to address and discuss questions to your peers during their presentations.

This course is assessed by several different assignments noted below. In all cases, please note the [deliverable requirements][] guidelines below.

  1. A final paper (40% of the final grade, approximately 3000 words (±10%)) relating to the topic of the course. The question to be addressed in the paper will be determined by the student in collaboration with the course coordinator. It can be related to one of the core questions raised in each of the seminars. Final papers do not need to be exclusive to each individual student; similar issues can be broached by more than one student. The essay must be within the realms of the course topic (new modes of governance). You are not bound to the policy topic. It would be wise to make use of the literature we have covered in the course.
    The essays may not be resubmitted after the grade has been given: if you are in doubt about your paper, please contact the course coordinator well in advance of the deadline, preferably with a rough draft.

    Your final papers will be evaluated on the following:

    • Capacity to structure, develop and answer a research question under the given constraints,
    • Capacity to explain, structure and use (a wide range of) secondary literature (that has been used in the course),
    • Linkage to empirical case study (if relevant) and suitable data collection (if applicable),
    • Analytical clarity, argumentation and coherence,
    • Presentation and structure (including spelling, referencing and layout).
  2. A collaboratively-authored policy draft paper (30% of the final grade, approximately 4000 words (±10%)). This will relate directly to the course, and be written as if it were a background paper for a policymaker at the EU level (i.e. active in the EU institutions). It should be accompanied by an executive summary of no more than two pages (not included in the word count). The structure should be determined by the group, but should at least cover the following:

    • Context
    • Objectives
    • Current activity
    • EU/international negotiating context
    • Challenges and opportunities
    • Ways forward
  3. For each of the specified weeks (4, 5, 6), you will need to submit ‘QSQ’ papers, and as a group, you will be required to submit one summary of a PES. This will count for 20% of your final grade.

    QSQs must be prepared for each block of reading listed in the course schedule, unless otherwise indicated. A QSQ paper requires, for all literature for the respective week:

    • a key Quote
    • a short Summary of the argument made in the article (i.e. NOT a summary of each article, but a critical analysis of the argument)
    • a Question for discussion in the group (linking to a research question for a possible final paper)

    You are still required to read each article, and discussion will be conducted on all texts.

    The QSQ paper must not exceed three pages, and should cover all articles from that week (key quotes can be used from each article). Prepare these assignments with a word processor and bring them to class on paper: you can be asked to hand the assignment in at any time (at least once); this will be part of your final mark for the module. These will need to be submitted every week where indicated in the [Course Schedule][]. This should be done via blackboard immediately prior to class: you will also need to bring a paper copy along to the seminars in order to facilitate discussion. The paper copy will be graded. If QSQs are not submitted for the week prior to the seminar, a zero will be awarded. NB: the QSQs are essential preparation for your final papers, and should not be seen as an onerous duty.

    The PES summary will be written in the form of a press release, and will be submitted to the UvA press office for publication on the UvA website (after potential amendments). This short (c. 400 word summary) should capture the most important moments in the PES, whilst respecting Chatham House rules. These will be written in groups.

  4. Your engagement with the literature and policy debates will be graded through a final presentation based on your policy draft (10%). Ideally, this will be carried out as a role play, where different agencies will come together in a specific EU institutional setting: in other words, a role play. The grading of the role play will take the following into consideration:

    • Coherence of argumentation
    • Fluidity of presentation
    • Ability to present analysis clearly
    • Quality of presentation materials
    • Innovation (how you present the topic, whether you stimulate your peers)
    • Interaction within the group

    The grade for the presentation will be awarded to the group (one grade will be given to all members), and will take into consideration the deliberations by group members on the course material throughout the course.

Immediate feedback will be given on the role play: the grade for these will be announced on blackboard within a week after they have taken place.

Feedback on the final papers and the policy drafts, including grades and comments, will be provided in written form on blackboard at latest ten working days after submission. The course coordinator will organise a date (most likely to be in the first week of Block 3 of Semester 1) for students to view their papers and receive more detailed feedback if requested.

Course Evaluation

Course evaluations are an important tool for improving the quality of courses and study programmes. At the end of a teaching period, questionnaires are distributed among the course participants. The results of these questionnaires are discussed by the Programme Committee, and ideas for improvement are communications to the course coordinator. More information on the Programme Committees is available at http://www.student.uva.nl/fgw-oc/start.cfm.

You should not feel as though you have to wait until the end of the course in order to voice any issues that you may have. The course coordinator invites you to engage either during office hours, prior or immediately after a class, or via email to discuss any concerns you may have.

Checklist: Deliverables and deadlines

Deliverable requirements

Documents submitted on paper should conform to the following rules: A4, printed on both sides of the page, fully justified paragraphs, with single line spacing AND PAGE NUMBERS CLEARLY IDENTIFIED. The pages in the document should be attached together in the top left hand corner with a single staple; no binding and no plastic coverings should be used. Only one copy should be provided. As a minimum, the following information should be clearly marked on the front page of the submission (for all deliverables):

Written work should be submitted on or before the date specified in the syllabus, in the course coordinator’s pigeonhole next to the European Studies Secretariat (PCH6.48) or given to the instructor immediately prior to, during, or after class. If you will not be able to submit written work on time, you should notify the course coordinator in advance or as soon as possible. Requests for additional time must be accompanied by documentation from a physician or university official. Requests for additional time after the deadline has passed will not be honoured.

A digital copy of all submissions should be provided via Blackboard (‘Ephorus assignment’ for the individual essay), in PDF format. This electronic document should be identical to the printed copy. All documents must be submitted electronically AND on paper (hard and soft copies). Students are expected to inform themselves of standard academic procedures for citing and referencing: coherence and consistency is most important. Cooperation (cheating or plagiarism) between students on the writing of the individual essays is not allowed i.e. you cannot use material submitted for the discussion paper as part of your individual essay, or that of someone else’s of course. Students are expected to be familiar with the University’s code of conduct and rules on plagiarism.

The penalty for late written work is 0.5 grade-points per day, beginning immediately after the deadline. Computer, transport, and/or printer problems are not a valid excuse for handing in work late. Work overdue for more than one week will not be accepted. Personal problems are only accepted with medical certificate or documentation from a university official.

Deadlines for deliverables

ItemWeightDate dueLength
Individual paper40%20 Dec, 12pm3000 words
QSQs and PES summaries20%prior to class and within one day of the PES event3pp/week + 400 words PES
Policy draft paper30%First draft: 10 Dec
Final draft: 18 Dec, 5pm
4000 words + exec. summary
Group presentation10%12 Dec, during class20 mins p/group

[Deliverables for deadlines][]

Annex: Suggested readings

In addition to the core texts, here is a list of suggested reading. Not all the reading suggested below is compulsory, and many, many things are not included in this list. However, you are advised to use some of this material along with others you find during your investigations. You should familiarise yourself with the European Commission’s Prelex web-based database, which provides access to most Commission Communications. Furthermore, European Council Presidency Conclusions will be very important to your research. These can be generally found at http://ue.eu.int/. Use of the UvA’s digital library is strongly encouraged. You are strongly recommended to read The Economist amongst other news magazines and newspapers such as The Financial Times.

  1. Collard-Wexler, Simon (2006) ‘Integration Under Anarchy: Neorealism and the European Union.’ European Journal of International Relations. 12(3): 397-432.
  2. Croci, Osvaldo (2003) ‘A Closer Look at the Changing Transatlantic Relationship.’ European Foreign Affairs Review. 8: 469-491.
  3. Crowe, Brian (2003) ‘A common European foreign policy after Iraq?’ International Affairs. 79(3): 533-46.
  4. Dinan, Desmond (1999) Ever Closer Union: An Introduction to European Integration. Basingstoke: Palgrave.
  5. Goddard, Stacie E, and Daniel H Nexon (2005) ‘Paradigm Lost? Reassessing Theory of International Politics.’ European Journal of International Relations. 11(1): 9-61.
  6. Guzzini, Stefano (2000) ‘A Reconstruction of Constructivism in International Relations.’ European Journal of International Relations. 6(2): 147-82.
  7. Hirst, Paul, and Grahame Thompson (1996) Globalization in Question: The international economy and the possibilities of governance. Cambridge, UK: Polity Press.
  8. Hoffmann, Stanley (2000) ‘Towards a Common European Foreign and Security Policy?’ Journal of Common Market Studies. 38(2): 189-198.
  9. Kaldor, Mary (2003) ‘The idea of global civil society.’ International Affairs. 79(3): 583-593.
  10. Keohane, Robert (1989) International Institutions and State Power: Essays in International Relations Theory. Boulder, CO: Westview.
  11. Keohane, Robert (1990) Multilateralism: An Agenda for Research. International Journal, 45(Autumn), 731–764.
  12. Keohane, Robert, and Joseph Nye (1974) ‘Transgovernmental Relations and International Organisations.’ World Politics. 27(1): 39-62.
  13. Marsh, Steve and Hans Mackenstein (2005) The International Relations of the European Union. Harlow: Pearson.
  14. Mearsheimer, John (1990) ‘Back to the Future: Instabillity in Europe After the Cold War.’ International Security. 15(1): 5-56.
  15. Menon, Anand (2004) ‘From crisis to catharsis: ESDP after Iraq.’ International Affairs. 80(4): 631-48.
  16. Oberthür, Sebastian, and Thomas Gehring (2004) ‘Reforming International Environmental Governance: An Institutionalist Critique of the Proposal for a World Environment Organisation.’ International Environmental Agreements: Politics, Law and Economics. 4359-81.
  17. Ortega, Martin, Valérie Arnould, Sven Biscop, Waheguru Pal Singh Sidhu, and Richard Gowan (2004) Barth Eide, Espen, eds. Global Europe. The Foreign Policy Centre, British Council, European Commission.
  18. Peterson, John and Margaret Sharp (1998) Technology Policy in the European Union. London: Macmillan Press.
  19. Pollack, Mark (2001) ‘International Relations Theory and European Integration.’ Journal of Common Market Studies. 39: 221-44.
  20. Reinicke, Wolfgang (1998) Global Public Policy: Governing without government? Washington DC: The Brookings Institution.
  21. Ronit, Karsten (2001) ‘Institutions of Private Authority in Global Governance: Linking Territorial Forms of Self-Regulation.’ Administration and Society. 33: 555-78.
  22. Rosamond, Ben (2000) Theories of European Integration. London: Macmillan Press.
  23. Rosamond, Ben (1999) ‘Discourses of globalization and the social construction of European identities.’ Journal of European Public Policy. 6: 652-68.
  24. Ruggie, John (1993) ‘Territoriality and Beyond: Problematizing Modernity in International Relations.’ International Organization. 47(1): 139-74.
  25. Ruggie, John (1992) Multilateralism: the Anatomy of an Institution. International Organization, 46(3), pp. 561–598.
  26. Ruggie, John (1998) Constructing the World Polity. London: Routledge.
  27. Sandholtz, Wayne and Alec Stone Sweet (1998) European Integration and Supranational Governance. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  28. Schimmelfennig, Frank (2000) ‘International Socialization in the New Europe:: Rational Action in an Institutional Environment.’ European Journal of International Relations. 6(1): 109-39.
  29. Jan Aart Scholte (2004) ‘Civil Society and Democratically Accountable Global Governance,’ Government and Opposition 39:2: 211-233.
  30. Smith, Karen E. (2003) European Union Foreign Policy in a Changing World. Cambridge: Polity Press.
  31. Stone Sweet, Alec, Wayne Sandholtz and Neil Fligstein (eds.) (2001) The Institutionalization of Europe. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  32. Wallace, Helen, William Wallace, and Mark Pollack (eds) (2005) Policy-Making in the European Union. Fifth edition. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

The following literature should also be considered (as ‘light reading’):

  1. Ferguson, Niall (2005) Colossus: The Rise and Fall of the American Empire. London: Penguin Books. (Particularly the chapters on EU)
  2. Leonard, Mark (2005) Why Europe will run the 21st Century. London: 4th Estate.
  3. Patten, Chris (2005) Not Quite the Diplomat. London: Allen Lane.
  4. Rifkind, Jeremy (2004) The European Dream. Cambridge: Polity Press