Montesquieu Institute: from science to society

Masterclass 2011 'European Priorities and National Influence'

Poster Masterclass 2011

Are you an ambitious student who would like to know more about the political interaction between Brussels and national capitals?

If yes is your answer, the MI Master class of 2011 is made for you!

Every year the Montesquieu Institute organises a Master class for excellent students. For a period of four to five months, a variety of speakers give their opinion on a European political subject. This year, we will look at the interaction between European priorities and national influence. The Master class will end with a diploma celebration in the House of the Dutch Senate.

Interested? Read the information below and apply as quickly as possible.



Every day we hear and read about Lisbon Agenda targets, European Commission work programs, and stories of success and failure in implementation of European policy by member states. Skeptics or enthusiasts of European integration make statements about how much Europe influences our national priorities and policy choices. Some even claim that 80 percent of our national decisions are based on what the EU tells us or would like us to do.

But what do we really know about European agenda setting and its consequences for member states? Most of the mainstream approaches to EU politics and policies consider this question from an institutional perspective. They focus on the institutional structures and rules of the game. This so-called ‘grand design’ changed recently with the adoption of the new Lisbon Treaty. Another perspective focuses on case studies of single policy topics such as economy and innovation, immigration, security and threats of terrorism or sustainability

How European Agenda Setting Works and What we can Learn from it

The Montesquieu Institute Masterclass offers a new and deeper insight into the logic of agenda setting and the role of national governments, parliaments and other actors in this process. Attention to issues of governments is always scarce and agenda setting involves winners and losers. Yet it is also a continuous process in which dominant themes may be altered due to events that none could foresee. To what extent and how are national choices influenced by the European policy agenda? And are national parliaments able to influence this?

The goal of the Montesquieu Institute Masterclass is to give you better insight into processes of making European policy agendas, which sometimes seem to be a ‘black box’. Furthermore, it aims to show you what the strategic implications of these insights are. Moreover, the Montesquieu Institute Masterclass looks at normative implications resulting from the analysis of European agenda setting. For instance, are national parliaments capable of reducing the democratic deficit, which not only exists ‘out there’ in Brussels but perhaps first of al in our own home countries? What conditions exist for strengthening national parliaments in European agenda setting? Can they be applied in all countries?

If you are interested in the themes outlined above, we strongly encourage you to apply for the Montesquieu Institute Masterclass 2011!



Third-year Bachelor students, Master students, or fourth year students at Higher Vocational Schools are eligible for the Masterclass. This concerns students within the Dutch education system.

Students from the following disciplines are selected:

  • Law (preferably Public Law/State and Administrative Law)
  • History (Modern History)
  • Political Science
  • Public Administration
  • International/European Studies

Classes are given in English.



Application is no longer possible.



Participation in the Masterclass is free of charge . Possibly, a fieldtrip abroad will be included in the programme. In all likelyhood, students will be asked to make a personal contribution.



Registration period:

November 22, 2010 - January 20, 2011

Introductory meeting:

January 28, 2011 at the Montesquieu Institute, Lange Voorhout 86-32, The Hague


On Fridays: from 09.30 till 13.00


Academy for Legislation, Lange Voorhout 62, The Hague

Graduation ceremony:

June 17, 2011 at the Dutch Senate (Eerste Kamer)

Exercised language:


Class schedule






Introductory meeting



Introduction: The Politics of Attention in the EU

Arco Timmermans


Parliamentary Coordination and Influence on the EU Agenda

Sjerp van der Vaart


To be announced

Mendeltje van Keulen


The European Council – field trip Brussels

Jan Werts


The European Commission in high and low politics of agenda setting – field trip Brussels

Ludolf van Hasselt


Networks and the Regulatory Policy Agenda

Kutsal Yesilkagit


Public Affairs and Agenda Management

Erik van Venetië


Interest representation and effects on the European agenda

Anne Rasmussen


Securization - The making of national security policy

Beatrice de Graaf


Understanding the Logic: EU agenda Setting in comparative perspective

Sebastiaan Princen


Environmental Issues up and down in attention

Gerard Breeman


Immigrant Agenda Setting

Peter Scholten


Paper Discussion Meetings



Paper Discussion Meetings



Graduation Ceremony



Practical Issues

During classes

  • For each class, two students are responsible for the follow-up of the lecture. This means that they take on the role of Chairperson and make sure each student asks at least one question. A replacement Chairperson will also be assigned.
  • All students are required to have read the assigned literature before each class.
  • Use will be made of an e-learning resource.
  • Before each class and during recess, coffee and tea will be served.


  • During the final two classes (if need be, the class will be divided into two groups), every student will give a presentation about their final paper proposal. The presentation will be made in PowerPoint. The other students and staff will ask questions, give comments and advice. The goal is to discuss the chosen topic and help students develop the content of their papers.

Final Paper

  • The Masterclass is concluded with a final paper, written by each participant. The paper must be written in accordance with the guidelines given by the Institute. The length of the paper must be between 5000-6000 words, excluding title page, footnotes, and bibliography.
  • The Montesquieu Institute has the right to publish the papers on its website and to use them for educational/research purposes.
  • The student who has been assessed with the best paper will give a short speech about his/her paper topic during the closing diploma ceremony.


  • When the paper has been sufficiently assessed and the student has satisfied class attendance, the student has passed the Masterclass. He/she will receive a diploma on behalf of all four participating universities (Groningen, Leiden, Maastricht and Nijmegen). The diploma ceremony will take place on June 17, 2011.

More questions about the Masterclass? Send an e-mail to