Understanding How European Nation States Work (Interacting Effectively with Europe)

This is an in-house training course. For further information and pricing contact [email protected] or phone on +44 20 7661 7817.

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The UK civil service has developed over many years an extensive knowledge-base about how the European Union works. But understanding how individual nation states within Europe actually function, and how their systems of government work in practice can be more of a challenge.

In the context of the UK’s new and changing relationship with Europe in the 2020s, this knowledge is now more important than ever.

This new course, which is delivered live and fully interactive, offers insights into how the nation states of Europe actually go about achieving their political and policy strategies, how these are formulated and how they pursue their national interests.

The training seminar has been created to give civil servants a better understanding of the policy and political processes that are used in continental Europe in their relations with both the European Union and the wider world, of which the UK now forms a part.

Who is the seminar designed for?

This new seminar has been designed for any civil servants whose roles involve them interacting with the European Union or the individual European nation states.

How will you benefit from attending?

You will develop a detailed understanding of how policy is made in different European countries, and who the main players are in individual important instances. This will help you to understand both the processes and the actors involved in the formulation and promotion of the different European nations’ governmental priorities, so that you can use this knowledge to map how you can interact most effectively with these countries in your professional role.

Learning outcomes

You will:

  • Understand how different European counties’ governmental systems work and how these impact on their policy and political priorities
  • Understand who is involved in the policy-making process, and who influences political considerations that impact on policy
  • Learn how different countries pursue their interests through a variety of channels, so that you know what to expect if you are interacting with them in your own role
  • Learn how to analyse past behavioural processes as a guide to the future, to enable you to interact most effectively with them
  • Learn the importance of regional considerations in national policy prioritisation, and consider how to use this information to inform your own policy development and evaluation in relation to the different nation states  


09:30 – 10:45 Introduction and Overview

  • Overview of the political structures in European states
    • Case studies from:
      • France (Presidential power with a strong centre)
      • Germany (Chancellor working in a Federal State)
      • Belgium (Federal model with linguistic and cultural divide)
      • Netherlands (Role of provinces and municipalities in decentralized unitary state)
      • Separatism and independence movements (Catalonia, Scotland)
  • Impact of political structure on international interaction and influence 

10:45 – 11:00 Break

11:00 – 12:30 How is Government Policy Made in Different Countries?

  • How does structure affect the policy-making process?
  • How does industry lobby the national governments/departments/politicians/key figures concerned in different countries?
  • Are there many or few multinationals/SMEs on their territory?
  • Is their influence felt locally or regionally or nationally?
  • Is there a strong trade union tradition or not in each country? – implications for national and EU-focused policy-making
  • Is the interest or industry ‘popular’?
  • Civil society and press influence on policy
  • Impact on policy-making of broadcasting or social media activity (environment, animal rights, human rights)  

12:30 – 13:30 Lunch

13:30 – 14:45 How do European Governments Pursue Their Policies?

  • What routes/outlets/assets have European countries got for proposing or pursuing their policies? 
  • Analysis of how different countries use their MEPs (whether government and/or opposition)
  • Interaction with the Economic and Social Committee, Committee of the Regions, and other EU bodies
  • Interaction individually and collectively with the wider world
  • Pros and cons of capturing Europe-wide lobbying groups or relying on national ones
  • Implications of using paid lobbyists to promote national government policies

14:45 – 15:00 Break

15:00 – 16:00 Track Records and Lessons for the Future

  • How successful have different states been in delivering their policies in the past, and what lessons can be learned from them?
  • Problems in policy-making: Analysis of the case study of Nordstream for Germany
  • How does one country defend a policy which others might consider undesirable?
  • Discussion of loss of government credibility more widely by pushing a policy/project not acceptable to several other member states – what can we learn from this?
  • Limits of compromise and the need for allies inside and across the EU camp in order to pursue national policies successfully

16:00 Final Discussion

16:15 Close

This is an in-house training course. For further information and pricing contact [email protected] or phone on +44 20 7661 7817.

Our training seminars are based on

  • A vast reservoir of knowledge about effective, delivery-focused approaches that are designed to enable you to achieve better results in your place of work
  • Expert practitioner and thought-leader experience, covering a comprehensive range of practical knowledge and people skills, to help you to work more productively
  • International perspectives and experience, enabling transferability and applicability wherever in the world you are from

Our training team

  • Our L&D team have all had successful careers as practitioners in their fields of expertise. They bring their experience, knowledge and skills to support the professional development of other public servants
  • Our team all now work as professional trainers, blending practitioner experience with professionally designed L&D solutions
  • Between them, our team have provided training for more than 100,000 public servants from 120 countries

Our training ethos

  • We deliver people-focused training designed to help you perform better
  • We provide practical insights, based on years of experience about what works, combined with practical methods to help you to make it work effectively in your own organisation
  • We are here to help you to perform better

This is an in-house training course. For further information and pricing contact [email protected] or phone on +44 20 7661 7817.

Crown Commercial Service supports the public sector to achieve maximum commercial value when procuring common goods and services.