Skip to 0 minutes and 7 secondsWelcome, everyone. In the fourth week we will examine how Europe and European political integration relate to the nation-state as the primary unit of political organisation. After this week you should form your own opinion on the core question of European studies, has the European Union saved the nation-state or does it mean an end to it? To find out an answer to this question Dr. Marek Neuman from the University of Groningen will help you revisit a thesis of a great historian of European integration, Alan Milward, about the European rescue of the nation-state. You will observe the transformation of the nation-state in the context of EU integration.

Skip to 0 minutes and 49 secondsYou will identify how the EU presents a novel, transnational form of political organisation and recognise the problems that arise from it. You will consider and discuss new and sustainable forms of political organisation that are organised beyond the nation-state. In this week we will ask you to come up with some very concrete policy reforms of the current political organisation in Europe that address some of the identified problems, rising populism and citizen alienation in particular.

Overview of the week

Welcome to the fourth week of the course! In this week, we will take a look at the nation-state in the context of European integration.

Since the nineteenth century, the nation-state has been the central form of political organisation in Europe. After the First World War ended, the four remaining empires on European soil - the German, Austro-Hungarian, Russian and the Ottoman - collapsed. After the Second World War, six Western European nation-states initiated the project to integrate their economies.

Today, the European Union has grown to 28 member-states. It is governed in part by the heads of government or state of its member-states, but there are also supranational bodies of governance: the European Commission and the European Parliament. This structure is food for continuous debate on whether the EU is a (con)federation, a superstate, a new empire or an intergovernmental organisation.

What is sure, is that the role of the nation-state has changed in Europe since 1945. Some say that is due to the EU, others argue that the EU has in fact rescued the nation-state from extinction. This week, you will re-examine this debate and its implications for European identity-construction.

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European Culture and Politics

University of Groningen

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