Foto: Matthias Friel
The European Commission serves as an ideal laboratory for examining the complexities of contemporary multilevel governance. Initially designed as an independent, expertise-driven secretariat to facilitate efficient international cooperation, the Commission now wields more political competences than almost any other international bureaucracy. Simultaneously, it faces significant constraints from national governments, the European Parliament, and increasingly contentious public debates on inter- and supranational decision-making. How does the Commission navigate these tensions? Can it continue to generate effective solutions to cross-national challenges in an increasingly politicized environment?
This seminar aims to provide Master students with current perspectives on the functioning of this crucial supranational institution. The first block reviews the various roles assigned to the European Commission by theories of European integration, international organization, and public administration. The second block delves into the Commission's formal competences, organizational structure, and staffing patterns in light of these roles. Building on this foundation, the third and most extensive block examines recent studies on the Commission's political and administrative behavior, specifically its legislative influence, its agenda-setting abilities, its responsiveness to contentious public debates, and its public communication.
Along this route, the seminar will equip students with an encompassing perspective on a key supranational institution, provides them with analytical tools to grasp the Commission’s behavior in contemporary European politics, and offers them different theoretical lenses and empirical research approaches to study this and comparable institutions more generally.
The full syllabus is available at www.christian-rauh.eu/teaching.
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