Critically evaluate the focus on ‘big bargains’ of Liberal Intergovernmentalist explanations of European integration.

Essay Questions

  1. Critically evaluate the neo-functionalist explanation of the dynamic of European integration.
  1. ‘The EU undermines democracy in Europe’. Critically evaluate this statement.
  1. Why is the EU’s system of external border management and control so ineffective?
  1. ‘The Franco-German alliance within the EU is breaking down’. How true is this claim and does it matter?
  1. How important are geo-political and ideological factors in explaining Britain’s problematic membership of the EC/EU?
  1. Evaluate the pros and cons of a British exit from the EU.
  1. Is the EU a ‘neo-mediaeval empire’?
  1. Critically evaluate the focus on ‘big bargains’ of Liberal Intergovernmentalist explanations of European integration.
  1. Is Euroscepticism a phenomenon of the right?
  1. ‘The operation of the euro is undermining the European Union’. Discuss.
  1. Why is the EU not a more effective foreign policy actor?
  1. ‘The EU is in profound crisis’. Discuss


What your Essay Should Contain


Your essay should be between 1800-2000 words long. It should be fully referenced with a bibliography. If proper referencing is lacking, your essay will fail. But it is important that your essay should contain the following features:


1 .Introduction:


(a) clarifying your question and any conceptual issues involved.

(b) The key analytical and explanatory issues raised by the question

(c)  etting out the structure of your essay: the main things that you are going to do to answer your question

  1. Your Argument and Evidence:


(a) The key steps in your response to the question: does your argument hang together logically?

(b) The counter-arguments to your own: have you addressed them?

(c) The evidence you use against opposing arguments.

(d) The evidence you use to support your arguments.

  1. Your Conclusions:


(a) are the clear and strong?

(b) Do they rest on the argument and evidence in the text?

(c) Do they fully address the question?

  1. Your Referencing:


(a) are your citations in the text clear and accurate?

(b) does your bibliography at the end match the citations in the text?

(c) Is your referencing system consistently applied?

Criteria of assessment of essays


  1. Is there an argument; does the author answer the question directly?
  2. Is the answer/argument backed up by evidence?
  3. Does the author consider alternative explanations, counter-arguments and refute them?
  4. Is the work properly referenced in the text itself?
  5. How widely has the author read? Does the list of works in the bibliography credibly reflect the extent of reading and preparation that went into the essay?
  6. How well is the essay organised, structured? Is there a good balance between the parts? Is there a clear introduction and a firm conclusion?
  7. Spelling, grammar, typographical errors.


The first three criteria are the really critical ones and should account for at least two thirds of the overall grade.

The fourth criteria is an essential one. If the work is not referenced at all, the examiner has the right to fail it because referencing is meant to show on what basis the author prepared his/her own work.

Demonstrated breadth of reading (i.e. not by the length of the bibliogrphy alone) is something that is assessed by the first three criteria, but it should also be assessed on it own. Less than 5 substantial sources, for example, puts into doubt whether a student can achieve a “good” mark – i.e. in the 60s. The same for overwhelming reliance on internet sources, unless there are no published sources on tthe topic in question.

If the level of competence in written English is so low that the examiner finds it hard to understand what the student is trying to say, this is grounds for a low mark or even a fail.


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