Universitätskurs zur Entscheidungsfindung in der EU

University Course St.Gallen

The course at St. Gallen University is a game-theory applying seminar, negotiation training and EU institution studies – all in one.

The seminar bridges theoretical knowledge and practical experience. Participants shouldn’t simply learn the theoretical groundwork without being able to apply it. On the one hand, this relates to game-theory exercises, which are derived from social-scientific experiments. On the other side, this approach relates to simulations on the political decision-making of the European Union in which the participants engage in a realistic negotiation situation.

The university course introduces conventional theories on negotiations and decision-making and applies them in a political context. First, the common assumptions and hypotheses from a game-theoretical perspective are presented, thoroughly discussed and illustrated with the use of practical exercises. This knowledge is then applied to the specific political negotiation context of the European Union. European negotiations are particularly fitting to test the developed theories, as there is a large heterogeneity of actors and interests. Accordingly, it will be shown and explained which logic European negotiations follow. Theoretical discussions are followed up by practical exercises, which eventually lead to an extensive simulation of negotiations within the context of the Union’s “ordinary legislative procedure”. The participants assume prepared roles including background information, and negotiate as a minister or state representatives in the Council of the European Union. The topic at hand is the legislative direction of European energy policy and in particular European emissions trading. The students have to try and negotiate the best outcome according to their role profile. Hence, the results, i.e. the content of the negotiated directive depend on the negotiation skills of the students. The one-day seminar is followed by a thorough reflection of the negotiations and the individual performances of the participants.

In addition to the gained theoretical knowledge of conventional game-theory concepts, the institutional structure of the EU and its energy policy as well as the fundamental logic of action behind several political systems, the participants apply this knowledge in order to find ways as to implement abstract concepts into practical action. The combination of these two approaches leads to a broad and deep understanding of knowledge that is not possible through conventional teaching methods.

Target Group

Students at universities and universities of applied science


Imparting of theory and practice of the conduct of political negotiations


Annual seminars in context studies of the University St. Gallen


St.Gallen (CH)


Game theory basics, sociopsychological explanations of negotiation success, knowledge transfer about EU institutions, simulation


University St.Gallen


Dr. Laszlo-Zoltan Kovats
+49 30 202 396 150

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