Regions and cities - curriculum
Regions and cities, EU institutions and policy-making
Online course by the European Committee of the Regions
Release in October 2015 at www.iversity.org
Be it the economy, social affairs, territorial cohesion, education, youth or culture, energy,
environment, transport, immigration – local government in Europe matters. The importance of the
regional and local dimension has continued to increase in Europe. Among the EU institutions in
Brussels, the European Committee of the Regions stands up for the rights of citizens, cities and
regions, ensuring that the local perspective is heard and giving communities a voice in Europe.
This online course aims to explain how the European Union works and what the European regions'
place is within it. In this course you will learn about how the EU institutions function, how they work
together and how this impacts policies and activities at the regional and local level.
Join us to (re)define the role of regions in European policy making!
Chapter 1: EU institutions and legislation
This chapter focuses on the European Union and its legal foundations, institutions and legislation.
How did we come to the EU of today? What are the EU institutions and how do they work?
Moreover it explains the basics of the EU's legislative process and the guiding principles of EU law.
Chapter 2: The role of regions and cities in EU affairs
The level of decentralisation varies among EU Member States, but regardless of this, the EU matters
to all regions and cities and vice versa. This chapter looks into the different levels of government in
the EU and their cooperation and influence of regions and cities on EU policies. What are the trends
in the development of regions and cities' roles in the EU’s political system? What does multilevel
What are the upcoming challenges for regions and cities and their
“constitutional role” in the EU?
Chapter 3: EU Cohesion Policy and Structural and Investment Funds
This chapter describes the development and current implementation of EU Cohesion Policy and the
European Structural and Investment Funds in 2014-2020. Representing one third of the EU budget,
EU Cohesion Policy and the European Structural and Investment Funds are an important source of
funding regional and local projects, with management often at the sub-national level. What is the
key rationale of EU Cohesion Policy? How has it developed over time? What will be the future of EU
Chapter 4: Research and innovation; social, employment, education and youth policies
This chapter is twofold: it presents on the other hand the European employment, social affairs and
equal opportunities policies, which aim to increase employment and worker mobility, to improve the
quality of jobs and working conditions, to combat poverty and social exclusion, to promote equality,
and to modernise social protection systems. On the other hand it discusses the implementation of
innovation policies and smart specialisation strategies, a priority for all member states and their
regions. These strategies will help to tap into their regional innovation potential, thanks to EU
Chapter 5: Environment, natural resources, energy and sustainable development policies
Regions and cities are of key importance when it comes to implementing the EU’s environment
legislation and its sustainable development targets. At the same time, regions and cities are
unevenly affected by the effects of climate change and the challenges and possibilities of the Energy
Union. This chapter focuses on the Paris Protocol: climate change, energy policy and the role of
regions and cities: Which are the biggest challenges of the EU's policy on climate change? What role
can the regions and cities play with regards to EU climate and energy policy?
Chapter 6: Free movement and migration
Migration and the integration of migrant populations are of key political importance at the local
level. The objective of this this chapter is to discuss the rationale, legislation and major challenges of
related EU policies and the way in which regions and cities are involved in it. What is the role of
regions and cities in addressing migration and how can the EU support them? Does increasing
international migration require the reform of the welfare state and labor market institutions and if
so, how would the EU be involved in it?
Chapter 7: Regions and the single market: industry, SME, competition and digital policies
This chapter is an introduction to the main principles and sources of EU competition policy and state
aid legislation. What is the scope, volume and impact of (regional) state aid in the EU? What links the
regional state aids and EU Structural and Investment Funds? Moreover, it presents the EU's SME and
Chapter 8: The EU budget, programs and projects
The objective of this chapter is to highlight the historical development and legal foundations of the
EU budget, the way its revenue and expenditure is composed, how different EU programs are
managed and the key issues with regards to its future. Which are the main actors in setting up,
implementing and controlling the EU budget? What are the main challenges when it comes to its
implementation, in particular for (sub-)national authorities?
For more information: