An in-depth understanding of EU decision-making mechanisms as well as a refined knowledge of Community policies and their mysteries are often key both for good governance of the public domain and for good management by economic and social actors of their own interests. This essential mastery of the European dimension' was for a long time the privilege of a handful of insiders. But, in the last few years, this somewhat exclusive domain has gradually opened up to others. Running in parallel with the ongoing expansion of the EU's areas of competence, more and more initiatives (be they from the world of universities or private organisations) have been set up to make this knowledge and mastery of the European thing' accessible to the widest audience. However, today, such is the range of training formulae' on offer that it often leaves students and professionals facing an embarrassment of riches in terms of choice.
The aim here is neither to hand out seals of quality for good training in EU affairs' nor to offer any kind of list of top training courses but merely to help readers make more informed choices. Shedding light in the prevailing gloom is no mean feat and, in the first instance, requires an answer as to how to classify the courses. Should one, for example, focus only on the content of the training courses provided? Here, one would need to list legal, political, economic and even multidisciplinary training. But such a list would run the risk of offering precious little in terms of clarification given that that these courses are offered in nearly all the establishments.
Is it therefore preferable to produce a list by type of establishment? At first sight, classifying them in this way seems very appropriate. The outline of this is straightforward. On the one hand, there are different types of grandes ecoles' [a form of tertiary education], such as the College of Europe located in Bruges, Belgium, and Sciences Po Paris, France, the European affairs and international relations' departments of universities and a hundred or so EU studies institutes that are connected, such as the prestigious London School of Economics and Political Science in the UK. All these establishments offer master's degree programmes in EU studies. On the other hand, there are various private institutes that offer more specialised training to develop careers and not to lead to certificates.
But the reality is that things are divided up in a much more complicated way. For...