Regions, EU Institutions and Policy-Making

  • Late 2015
  • 8 weeks
  • 2-3 hours/week
  • English
  • Political Science

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About this course

Did you know that three quarters of EU policies affect our everyday lives in our regions and cities? Did you know that regional and local governments in Europe manage two thirds of all public investments? Be it the economy, social affairs, territorial cohesion, education, youth or culture, energy, environment, transport, immigration – local government in Europe matters. The importance of the regional and local dimension has continued to increase in Europe. Among the EU institutions in Brussels, the European Committee of the Regions stands up for the rights of citizens, ensuring that the local perspective is heard and giving communities a voice in Europe. This introductory course aims to explain how the European Union works and what the European regions' place is within it. Join us to (re)define the role of regions in European policy making!

Who is this course for?

This course is for everybody interested in the EU and its regional affairs, particularly for officials of regional and local administrations involved in EU affairs and for teachers, students, and local journalists.

What do I need to know?

Recommended background: basic knowledge of European Union

What will I learn?

In this course you will learn about how the EU institutions function, how they work together and how this impacts policies and activities at the regional and local level.

Course Structure

Chapter 1: 19-23 October 2015: EU institutions and legislation
Live debate: Friday 23 October, 2015, 13:00-14:00
This chapter focuses on the European Union and its legal foundations, institutions and legislation. How did we come to the EU of today? What are the EU institutions and how do they work? Moreover it explains the basics of the EU's legislative process and the guiding principles of EU law.
With Professor Alberto Alemanno, HEC University, Paris

Chapter 2: 26-30 October 2015: The role of regions and cities in EU affairs
Live debate: Friday 30 October, 2015, 13:00-14:00
The level of decentralisation varies among EU Member States, but regardless of this, the EU matters to all regions and cities and vice versa. This chapter looks into the different levels of government in the EU and their cooperation and influence of regions and cities on EU policies. What are the trends in the development of regions and cities' roles in the EU’s political system? What does multilevel governance mean? What are the upcoming challenges for regions and cities and their “constitutional role” in the EU?
With Markku Markkula, President of the Committee of the Regions; Professor Michel Huysseune, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Brussels; and Hella Dunger-Löper, State Secretary, Representative of the Land of Berlin to the Federal Government

Chapter 3: 2-6 November 2015: EU Cohesion Policy and Structural and Investment Funds
Live debate: Friday 6 November, 2015, 13:00-14:00
This chapter describes the development and current implementation of EU Cohesion Policy and the European Structural and Investment Funds in 2014-2020. Representing one third of the EU budget, EU Cohesion Policy and the European Structural and Investment Funds are an important source of funding regional and local projects, with management often at the sub-national level. What is the key rationale of EU Cohesion Policy? How has it developed over time? What will be the future of EU Cohesion Policy?
With Iskra Mihaylova, Chair of the Committee for Regional Development, European Parliament; Walter Deffaa, Director General for Regional and Urban Policy, European Commission; and Professor John Bachtler, European Policies Research Centre, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow

Chapter 4: 9-13 November 2015: EU Research and innovation policy and the regions
Live debate: Friday 13 November, 2015, 13:00-14:00
This chapter discusses the implementation of innovation policies and smart specialisation strategies, a priority for all member states and their regions. These strategies will help to tap into their regional innovation potential, thanks to EU support.
With Professor Dominique Foray, École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Switzerland; Katja Reppel, DG Regional and Urban Policy, European Commission; and Manuel Palazuelos Martinez, Joint Research Centre, European Commission

Chapter 5: 16-20 November 2015: Environment, energy and sustainable development policies
Live debate: Friday 20 November, 2015, 13:00-14:00
Regions and cities are of key importance when it comes to implementing the EU’s environment legislation and its sustainable development targets. At the same time, regions and cities are unevenly affected by the effects of climate change and the challenges and possibilities of the Energy Union. This chapter focuses on the Paris Protocol: climate change, energy policy and the role of regions and cities: Which are the biggest challenges of the EU's policy on climate change? What role can the regions and cities play with regards to EU climate and energy policy?
With Jos Delbeke, Director General for Climate Action, European Commission

Chapter 6: 23-27 November 2015: Free movement and migration
Live debate: Friday 27 November, 2015, 13:00-14:00
Migration and the integration of migrant populations are of key political importance at the local level. The objective of this this chapter is to discuss the rationale, legislation and major challenges of related EU policies and the way in which regions and cities are involved in it. What is the role of regions and cities in addressing migration and how can the EU support them? Does increasing international migration require the reform of the welfare state and labour market institutions and if so, how would the EU be involved in it?
With Peter Scholten, Associate Professor Public Policy & Politics, Erasmus University Rotterdam

Chapter 7: 30 November-04 December 2015: EU competition policy and state aids
Live debate: Friday 4 December, 2015, 13:00-14:00
This chapter is an introduction to the main principles and sources of EU competition policy and state aid legislation. What is the scope, volume and impact of (regional) state aids in the EU? What links the regional state aids and EU Structural and Investment Funds?
With Fiona Wishlade, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow

Chapter 8: 7-11 December 2015: The EU budget 2014-2020 and its programmes
Live debate: Friday 11 December, 2015, 13:00-14:00
The objective of this chapter is to highlight the historical development and legal foundations of the EU budget, the way its revenue and expenditure is composed, how different EU programmes are managed and the key issues with regards to its future. Which are the main actors in setting up, implementing and controlling the EU budget? What are the main challenges when it comes to its implementation, in particular for (sub-) national authorities?
With Stefan Lehner, Director at DG Budget, European Commission and Jorge Nunez Ferrer, Associate Research Fellow, Centre of European Policy Studies

© European Union, 2015

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