Executive training   Executive MPA  

Workshop in Brussels

11 - 14 June 2024 | Workshop

The over-arching theme of this seminar  are the challenges and choices Europe – as embodied by the EU, but also including other European states from post-Brexit Britain to Moldova and Ukraine to the countries from the Western Balkans. Students are asked to explore how the dynamics of European integration are evolving in response to overlapping crises and whether existing proposals to reorganize the EU could help it cope better: How is the EU handling its chief current challenges? Where are new threats likely to emerge? Which strategies – if any – are decision makers at this level working on? What choices are available to them? 

Main topics and learning objectives

The goal of this study trip is to see the European Union as it copes in practice with a continuously high level of challenges. This involves getting to grips with the multi-level and multi-institutional nature of EU policy-making. In this context, we will discuss the policy-making process with national actors in Brussels, as well as with members of the main EU institutions (the Council, Commission and Parliament). We will consider how non-governmental actors and organizations are both influenced by, and seek to influence, EU policy. We will also consider the role of new emerging institutions, such as the European External Action Service (EEAS), and what close partners of EU think of the current challenges.

Some questions in relation to better understanding the European political process include:

  • Who are the main drivers of EU policy-making in times of change, and how are they repositioning themselves?
  • How does EU decision-making operate in practice, i.e. to what extent do informal practices of consultation or negotiation complement formal decision-making rules?
  • By what methods do actors 'on the outside' of the EU institutions seek to influence EU policy, and under what conditions are they successful in doing so?
  • What are the scenarios for the reform of Europe to cope in a more effective and legitimate way with challenges of our times?

Teaching methods

The course is highly interactive and, given the hoped-for presence in the EU bubble in Brussels, rather professionally oriented than academic. Each session is a deep dive with an external expert in their particular field of experience. A short introductory presentation is followed by an intensive discussion period with the participants and guided by the two co-convenors. Each day will also include at least one internal session for reflection and feedback.

Target group

This course is planned for participants who are familiar with the history, core competences and institutions of the European Union, acquired in the core course on EU governance or elsewhere.


This seminar is offered in the open enrolment programme and as part of the Executive MPA programme.