The European Union (EU) is a political and economic union of 27 democratic European member states. With almost 500 million citizens, it has become a major player in global politics. In this online course, the European Union is the main object of study. You will be introduced to the Union's history, institutional structures, current aims and future challenges. Lectures will explain the historical background and the various stages of integration. Other themes that will be examined include the role of European leaders, the future political expansion of the EU, transatlantic relations and the development of a shared foreign policy and development aid.