Montesquieu Institute: from science to society

Masterclass 2008 'Behind the Scenes of the EU'

The participants of the Masterclass 2008

On May 16, 2008, the last session of the Masterclass of the Montesquieu Institute took place. Starting in March, sixteen participants attended the seven seminars on European decision-making. During a festive gathering on June 20, 2008, the participants received their certificates.

Interested in participating in the next Masterclass of the Montesquieu Institute? Keep an eye on this website: in the next academic year the new series will start. Scroll down to read about the rules of admission and to get an impression of the previous Masterclass.

Behind the Scenes of the EU

On the various relationships between the European Parliament, the European Commission, the National Parliaments, and the European and National Civil Services.

By taking part in the Masterclass it is possible to get first hand information about the way the European Union works. The Masterclass starts in March and consists of a series of seminars at which lecturers of name and fame from various disciplines shed light on the background of decision-making in the European Union.

For students and others interested in Europe, the Masterclass offers a unique opportunity to obtain, in a short period, specialised and multidisciplinary knowledge about a phenomenon which can no longer be excluded from our life: the European Union.

The certificate, which is awarded to the successful participants of the Masterclass, is backed by the four founding Dutch universities of the Montesquieu Institute: Leiden University, Radboud University of Nijmegen, State University of Groningen and Maastricht University.



Programme and lecturers

  • 1. 
    From European Community of Coal and Steel to the European Union. A historical overview of the development of the EU
    • Prof. Dr. Koen Koch will focus on the political-historical development of the EU.

      Koch is lecturer International Relations at Leiden University, holds the Jean Monnet Chair in Political and Administrative Studies of European Integration and is member of the Advisory Council on International Affairs (AIV), Commission on Peace and Security.

    • Dr. Bart van Riel will focus on the socio-economic development of the EU.

      Van Riel is secretary of the commission on International Socio-Economic Matters, Dept. Economic Affairs of the Social Economic Council (SER), The Hague. He is also lecturer at the Master European Studies at Leiden and Financial-Economic Vocational Studies (BOFEB), Erasmus University, Rotterdam.

  • 2. 
    Relations between European and National Institutions. A lecture on the relations between the European Parliament, the European Commission, the national parliaments and the national governments.
    • Dr. Mr. Philipp Kiiver gives insight into the Legal relations between the EU and the national institutions.

      Kiiver is assistant-Professor European and Comparative Constitutional Law at Maastricht University.

    • Drs. Tom J.A.M. de Bruijn treats the subject from the point of view of the Dutch Permanent Representative in Brussels.

      De Bruijn is the Dutch Permanent Representative at the EU in Brussels.

  • 3. 
    Room to manoeuvre. A session on the various possibilities the European Parliament has to influence EU-polices.
    • Mr. Berend-Jan M. baron van Voorst tot Voorst

      Deputy Head of the cabinet of Euro Commissioner Andriessen 1981-1985, member of the Dutch Lower House in 1989 (CDA), Under-secretary of Foreign Affairs (European Cooperation) 1988-1989, Under-secretary of Defense 1989-1993 and Governor of the province of Limburg 1993-2005.

  • 4. 
    Political groupings on national and European level (Parliaments).
    • Drs. Jean J.M. Penders highlights the interests of political factions. A comparison is made between the role of a national civil-servant, a member of the Dutch Lower House and a member of the European Parliament.

      Penders is former civil-servant at the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs 1968-1972, former secretary of the KVP in the Dutch Lower House 1972-1976, former staff-member of the Dutch Scientific Council for Government Policies (WRR) 1976-1979 and former member of the European Parliament 1979-1994. He currently lectures in European Studies at Leiden University and lectures European and Peace policies at Instituut Clingendael.

    • Mrs. Marije Laffeber gives a lecture on political factions from the position of national political organisations.

      Mrs. Laffeber is International Secretary of the Dutch Labour Party (PvdA) and member of the delegation of European Socialists.

  • 5. 
    EU-level bureaucrats and their national counterparts. A session on the ways in which national and European civil-servants serve their political masters.
    • Mrs. Joanneke M. Balfoort

      Mrs. Balfoort works at the Direction Integration Europe of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

  • 6. 
    The Brussels invasion of national policies. A session on the way Brussels seems to dictate national legislation.
    • Prof. Dr. Wim J.M. Voermans

      Professor of Public Law at Leiden University.

  • 7. 
    The media and the EU. A session on the way the media report about the comings and goings of EU-politicians and policies.
    • Drs. Wilmer Heck

      Member of the editorial staff, European department, of the daily newspaper NRC and former spokesperson of the Dutch Green-party in the European Parliament.



Students and graduates of all Dutch Universities and Higher Education Institutes in the fields of Public Administration, Political Science, Law, History and European Studies can apply, by writing a letter of application in which they motivate their interest in the 2008 Montesquieu Institute Master Class. A full c.v. has to be included, with an overview of all subjects studied so far and the marks obtained. The application must be sent to Twelve to fifteen participants will be selected by a committee of the Institute.



Classes are scheduled on Fridays and start at 10 a.m. After a coffee/tea break the student of the week presides over the second half of the session during which all the students are expected to discuss the lecture with the speaker until 12.30 pm. The session is followed by a joint lunch until 1.30 pm.



7 and 28


4, 18 and 25


9, 16 and 30


20: Graduation Ceremony



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