Spring 2011


The Maastricht Treaty of 1992 represents a critical juncture in the long evolution of European political economic integration. The treaty transformed the institutions of the European Union (EU) and set its members on an accelerated pathway towards monetary integration. The Europe of today still wrestles with the political compromises and economic implications of this treaty. The Carleton College European Political Economy Program in Madrid, Spain and Maastricht, The Netherlands provides students with an opportunity to research and reflect critically on the politics of European integration while they live and travel throughout Western and Southern Europe.

The program begins in Madrid, where students will study the tradeoffs inherent in European integration within the context of a major country: Spain. Spain’s travails with globalization, European integration and regional diversity continue to challenge this modern society in ways that are reflected in other European countries. In addition to learning about the role of Spain in Europe, students will examine the political institutions, policy-making processes, foreign policy, and the special regional aspects of Spanish democracy.

During the second half of the term, the program moves to Maastricht. This small city of 120,000 is a monument to Europe's past and its future. Founded as a walled fortress by the Romans in 50 B.C., it is the oldest city in The Netherlands, as its many medieval churches and squares attest. Located at the southern tip of the Netherlands, it lies a mere 20 minutes west of Germany and just east of Belgium. This central location makes it a perfect home base to explore numerous EU institutions, including the Council of Ministers and the Commission in Brussels, the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg, and the Parliament in Brussels and Strasbourg.

In Madrid, students will have access to the research resources of the Ortega y Gasset Institute. In Maastricht, students will find all of the research materials they will need at the library of the European Institute of Public Administration (EIPA), one of the official resource centers the EU maintains in its member states. Here, students will have the use of official EU reports, data, and archives. But this program will require and expect students to go into the field and conduct systemic, original elite interviews in diverse sites within Spain, Brussels, and throughout Western Europe.


Alfred P. Montero, Associate Professor of Political Science

Al Montero has taught comparative politics since 1996 and has been at Carleton since 1998. A specialist on both Latin American and European political economy, he has published several scholarly books, articles and chapters on these subjects. He has extensive field research experience in Brazil, Mexico, and Spain and has traveled throughout Western Europe. Prof. Montero's work in Europe focuses on the political economy of subnational government and the regional policy of the European Union. He is fluent in Spanish and Portuguese and has studied French. Mar Valdecantos, his wife, is a sociologist and fiction writer from Madrid, Spain. She has taught Spanish at Carleton since 1999 and is fluent in French. Diana, their nine-year-old daughter, and David, their four-year-old son, will accompany them on this program. (This will be Diana's fourth European program and David’s second!)