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Last updated:

April 14, 2022


Unlimited Duration


This course includes:

Unlimited Duration

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Certificate of completion

Unlimited Duration


The European Union (EU), formed out of the ashes of the Second World War, continues to expand in the wake of the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Despite the EU's growing size and significance, the question 'What is Europe?' still resonates through the continent. This free course looks at a range of different views on the question, contrasting different conceptions of Europeanness and outlining competing visions for the future of the EU.

Course learning outcomes

After studying this course, you should be able to:

  • Appreciate the historical development of ‘Europe’ as a political and economic entity
  • Understand the rationale for the emergence of the idea of ‘Europe’ in policy making
  • Understand the contested nature of the idea of Europe
  • Understand that ‘Europe’ is not coterminous with the European Union
  • Appreciate the challenges facing the EU as it expands.

Course Curriculum

  • Introduction 00:10:00
  • Learning outcomes 00:07:00
    • Europe in the twenty-first century 00:40:00
    • Preamble 00:10:00
    • Europe as a geographical area 00:20:00
    • Europe as a sequence of ideas 00:30:00
    • Europe and political extremism after the First World War 00:25:00
    • Europe after the Cold War 00:25:00
    • Europe as a ‘non-other’ 00:25:00
    • Europe as a project 00:25:00
    • Europe as a project (continued) 00:30:00
    • Debates on the development of Europe 00:25:00
    • Debates on the development of Europe (continued) 01:15:00
    • Unity and diversity 00:15:00
    • Conflict and consensus 00:15:00
    • Tradition and transformation 00:25:00
    • Inclusion and exclusion 00:25:00
    • Conclusion 00:07:00

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Open University UK