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MEES Option European Public Policy Analysis (EPPA)

Course Description

This academic year, the College of Europe launches an exciting new Option specializing in public policy design, implementation and assessment. The new Option is open to students of the Programmes in European Economic Studies and European Political and Administrative Studies in Bruges.

Understanding public policies in the 21st century

The aim of public policies is to provide effective solutions to specific problems and to raise the welfare of society at affordable cost. However, as society becomes more complex, the collection of relevant evidence becomes more arduous, the definition of efficient policies becomes more difficult and the involvement of stakeholders requires more intricate processes.

Understanding how public policies are formulated correctly, implemented successfully and evaluated properly requires special skills.

The purpose of the EPPA programme is to develop those skills. Students will:

acquire technical knowledge: learn social science methodologies of policy analysis;
understand challenges: review and assimilate typical problems that policy-makers face in the use of statistical, scientific and economic evidence in the formulation and implementation of public policy;
appraise real cases: gain experience in assessing actual policies in their complex setting;
become aware of complexity: appreciate the variation of evidence, problems and processes across policy areas and sectors.
The EPPA programme focuses on selected EU policies and cases. Students learn about contemporary policy aims, processes and outcomes. They become familiar with policies which they are likely to encounter again as their careers progress.

[[Why choose EPPA]]

In mixed economies, state intervention and regulation are pervasive. Economists involved in the design or enforcement of public policy need to take into account the impact of state intervention on markets and ensure its efficiency and effectiveness. Economists working within companies or other market operators need to determine how public policies and regulations affect their business and activities and identify the least costly means of compliance. Political advisers must be able to foresee, measure and evaluate the consequences of the regulatory initiatives that they promote or the programmes they implement.

The EPPA option prepares students for senior positions in ministries and public agencies, public affairs organisations, large corporations, consulting companies and research institutions.

[[Study programme]]

Students follow the academic programme of the department in which they are enrolled, with the following modifications.

Introductory course

Before the start of the academic year, EPPA students follow a two-week compulsory ‘intensive course’ in the other discipline: political scientists in economics, with an emphasis on micro-economics, and economists in European politics and law.

During the first semester

Joint course: Both politics and economics students follow one joint compulsory course which provides them with the analytical tools required for the design and appraisal of policies. This course, open only to EPPA students, is Public Policy Analysis (30 h) taught by Prof. Massimo BORDIGNON. The course provides a thorough grounding in the science and art of policy formulation, setting feasible and testable objectives, choosing appropriate policy instruments, assessing policy outcomes and procedures and adjustment of policy targets.

Cross-over course: Students must also follow one compulsory course in the other department: politics students follow 20 hours of the course on The Economics of European Integration by Prof. Phedon NICOLAIDES. Economics students follow 20 hours of the course on Politics and Policies of the EU of Prof. Olivier COSTA. In addition, politics and economics students follow their departmental compulsory courses.

Differences with the regular course programmes: students from the Economics Department follow only 15 hours of the course European Industrial Economics by Jan BOUCKAERT. They do not follow the course ‘Introduction aux institutions et à l'ordre juridique de l'Union européenne’ by Prof. Van de Walle-de Ghelcke.

Students from the Politics Department do not follow the course on The Political Economy of European Integration by Prof. HINE.

During the second semester

Joint seminar: students follow a 50-hour joint compulsory seminar on case analysis. The cases will be drawn from important but diverse policy fields such as competition, transport, infrastructure and public health. This seminar, open only to EPPA students, will be given by Prof. Phedon NICOLAIDES, Prof. Mathias KIFMANN and Prof. Wolfgang SCHADE.

Pool system within each department: Unlike regular students, who follow four optional courses/seminars, EPPA students follow only two optional courses/seminars within their department. These are chosen from a defined pool of courses/seminars associated with the programme.

In addition, economics students will follow an 8-hour compact seminar on 'Audit of Public Policy Performance', given by Prof. Michael KELL. Politics students can follow a special workshop on “How to make it work? Capacity for the implementation of European policies across Member State public administrations”, given by Prof M . KAEDING.

Entry Requirements

See website for details

Course Fees


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