Hussein Kassim
  • 0.27 Arts and Humanities Building

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PhD projects

EU institutions; the EU administration; the UK and the EU; EU aviation policy; the politics of EU competition policy

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Personal profile


I am Professor of Politics, specialising in the European Union. I am also a Senior Fellow under the ESRC’s ‘The UK in a Changing Europe’ initiative, Visiting Professor at the College of Europe in Bruges, and EGPP Fellow at the European University Institute.

I research four main areas: the EU institutions, where I look at presidentialisation, leadership, and coordination; the people who work for the EU, where I'm interested in the backgrounds, beliefs and workplace experience of EU civil servants; EU-member state relations; and Brexit. I've published widely on the EU institutions, the EU administration, the national coordination of EU policy, competition policy and aviation. My work has appeared in the top journals in politics, public administration, and EU studies, and I have co-authored or co-edited six books. My output has been widely cited: My h-Index is 33 and i-10 index is 58. I have been principal investigator or co-investigator on research funded by grants from the British Academy, the ESRC, the Nuffield Foundation, and the EU, and have significant leadership experience in research, including as research director, REF UoA coordinator for Politics and International Studies,and research impact champion, and as head of department. Much of my work has been collaborative across institutions and disciplines.

Under the research project, ‘Negotiating the Future’ I am currently conducting as part of my ‘UK in a Changing Europe’ Senior Fellowship, I followed the negotiations leading to the Withdrawal Agreement and the Trade and Cooperation Agreement. I am currently researching UK-EU relations since Brexit. In an earlier ESRC-funded project ‘Negotiating Brexit: EU institutions, national governments, and the UK’, I investigated approaches to the Article 50 negotiations and convened a cross-national observatory of national EU experts. As part of my activities as Senior Fellow, I have organised conferences, panels, town halls, and many other public events, contributed multiple articles, explainers and blogs, and made two series of podcasts. I have also appeared on radio and TV, and given interviews to regional, national and international media. I am strongly committed to engagement and research impact, where my work received the highest rating in the recent REF 2021 exercise.

I have led four major multi-institutional, multi-disciplinary research projects on EU institutions and the EU administration:

With Adriaan Schout at the Clingendael Institute, I am coediting a book on National European Union narratives: the official story, which explores the meanings that the EU has for different European states through an examination of how governments explain and justify the relationship with the EU. I am co-editing, Negotiating Brexit. EU institutions, national governments, and the UK, with Simon Usherwood.

I've been a Professor of Politics at UEA since 2007. Previously, I taught at Birkbeck, University of London, and the University of Nottingham. My first teaching jobs were in Oxford, where I also completed my academic studies. I also taught at the LSE. I can teach courses on the EU, comparative politics, public administration, and public policy.

Over my career, I have held visiting positions at Columbia University, École Normale Supérieure, European University Institute, New York University, ARENA – the University of Oslo, the Minda de Gunzberg Center for European Studies at Harvard University, and the Centre d'études européennes, Sciences Po. Paris.

Administrative Posts

Current administrative responsibilities: At University level, I am a theme leader of the AHRC impact accelerator scheme, and member of the ESRC Internal Review College. I am a faculty member of the Centre for Competition Policy. Within the School, I am REF unit of assessment coordinator for Politics and International Studies, a role I held for the 2021 REF.

Previous administrative posts: At School level, I have previously served as research director, impact champion, and a member of the PPL Executive. I served as Head of School from 2010 to 2013, during which the time the School of Political, Social and International Studies rose in The Guardian University Guide ranking from 41st to 16th among UK Politics and International Relations departments. At University level, I was co-investigator for the second stage ESRC grant 2009-14, a member of the Steering Group from 2009 and coordinator of ‘Project 2 - Institutions’ research theme 2006-2014. I was also a founder of policy@uea, a group that brings together researchers with interests in public policy and public administration from across the University.

External Activities

  • As an ESRC 'UK in a Changing Europe' Senior Fellow ( in 2015 and 2016, I organized a series of high-level conferences investigating topics as diverse as UK influence in the EU, the experience and contribution of UK officials to the EU, external perspectives on the UK and the EU, how the EU is reported in the UK media, and EU regulation on the UK. I also hosted, chaired and intervened in many public discussions of the UK and the EU at UEA and in the local and regional community. Full details will be available in due course on ResearchFish In 2016-17, I convened ‘“Brexit means Brexit, but what does that mean?’, a series of public discussions, which considers the likely consequences of the UK’s departure from the EU on UK politics, UK business, regulation, the UK’s position in the world, the nations of the United Kingdom, and immigration and community relations in the UK. In 2016-17, I convened ‘“Brexit means Brexit, but what does that mean?’, a series of public discussions, which considers the likely consequences of the UK’s departure from the EU on UK politics, UK business, regulation, the UK’s position in the world, the nations of the United Kingdom, and immigration and community relations in the UK.
  • Principal Investigator (PI) of 'European Commission: Facing the Future'
  • PI of ‘The European Commission in Question’ [ and]
  • Convenor of: ‘The Coalition at One: The Conservative-Liberal Democratic Government in Historical and Theoretical Perspective’ (with Charles Clarke, Andrew Adonis and Jon Davis) []
  • Convenor of ‘The “Too Difficult” Box’ (with Charles Clarke) []

Research Group or Lab Membership

Much of Professor Kassim’s work has been collaborative.  He was a member of the 'Connecting Excellence on European Governance' (Connex) FP6 network, which was led by Beate Kohler-Koch, then at the University of Mannheim, and Morten Egeberg, University of Oslo. He worked with Dionyssis G. Dimitrakopoulos on a project on preferences and preference formation on the part of governments and EU institutions in regard to the 'Future of Europe' debate.

He convened an ESRC Research Seminar, ‘Modelling Political Accountability: Principal-Agent in Government and Politics’ (with Peter John, Bill Tompson and Catherine Waddams), led a team of researchers with John Peterson (University of Edinburgh) on ‘The European Commission in Question’ that included Michael W. Bauer (German University of Administrative Sciences, Speyer), Sara Connolly (UEA), Renaud Dehousse (Sciences Po Paris), Liesbet Hooghe (UNC at Chapel Hill and University of Amsterdam), and Andrew Thompson (University of Edinburgh), and, with Sara Connolly, is currently leading a research team on ‘European Commission: Facing the Future’ that includes Michael W. Bauer (German University of Administrative Sciences, Speyer), Sara Connolly (UEA), Renaud Dehousse (Sciences Po Paris), and Andrew Thompson (University of Edinburgh).

He is also working in a team led by Sonja Puntscher-Riekmann (University of Salzburg), 'The Choice for Europe', convened by Professor Sonja Puntscher-Riekmann, University of Salzburg, (, a project funded under Horizon 2020. With Shaun Hargreaves Heap and Scott James (both King's College, London), he is researching UK policy on EMU since the crisis.

Professional Activities

  • Associate Fellow, UK in a Changing Europe, 2017-18
  • ESRC Senior Fellow, UK in a Changing Europe, 2015-16
  • Visiting Professor, College of Europe, Bruges, from 2015
  • Vincent Wright Chair 2015, Sciences Po Paris
  • Member of LABEX evalution committee (economics panel), Agence National de Recherche, 2015
  • Member of executive committee of the ECPR Standing Group on Regulatory Governance from 2014
  • Editorial Board, Public Policy and Administration from 2014
  • Visiting Professor, Centre d’Etudes Européennes, Sciences Po Paris, March/April 2014
  • Member of ESRC Peer Review College
  • Member of executive committee of the ECPR Standing Group on the European Union since 2009
  • Visiting Professor, Birkbeck, University of London 2008-2013
  • Member of Advisory Board, Observatoire des Institutions Européennes at the Centre d’Etudes Européennes, Sciences Po Paris, Since 2005
  • Member of LABEX Panel/Jury, Agence National de Recherche 2010
  • Principal Investigator, ESRC-funded project, ‘The European Commission in Question’ 2008-2010
  • Member of the Transformation and Sustainability of European Political Order (Eurotrans) at ARENA, University of Oslo 2008-2012
  • Member of executive committee, 'Connecting Excellence on European Governance' (Connex) EU FP6 network 2005-2008
  • Founder, with Anand Menon, Damian Chalmers, Simon Hix and Imelda Maher, of the London EU Group. 1995-2007
  • External Examiner for PhD/DPhil theses at: University of Adger; University of Oxford; University of Reading; University College London; University of Oslo; University of Manchester; Louvain-la-Neuve; Free University Amsterdam; European University Institute; London School of Economics and Political Science
  • I have served as External Examiner for undergraduate degrees at Newcastle University, and postgraduate programmes at the LSE, UCL, Sussex University, and Oxford University.
  • Peer reviewer for the following journals: European Union Politics, Journal of Common Market Studies, Journal of European Public Policy, West European Politics, Journal of European Integration, Comparative European Politics, Governance, European Journal of Political Research, Public Administration, Journal of Public Policy, European Journal of Political Research, European Political Science Review, Regulation and Governance, European Integration On-line Papers, British Journal of International Relations, Current Issues in European Politics, European Journal of Urban Politics, International Review of Administrative Sciences, Journal of Transatlantic Studies, European Societies
  • Reviewer for the following publishers: Oxford University Press, Palgrave MacMillan, Rowman and Littlefield, UCL Press, Sage Publications, Routledge, IB Tauris, Republic of Letters, Continuuum

Areas of Expertise

  • European Union institutions and the European administration, especially the European Commission and the General Secretariat of the Council
  • European Union policy, especially civil aviation and competition policy
  • interaction between EU and the member states: national coordination of EU policy and the domestic impact of EU policy 
  • the UK and the EU

Teaching Interests

  • Administering Europe
  • The EU and the member states
  • Comparative Politics
  • Public Policy
  • Public Administration and Management
  • European Union: history, institutions, policy
  • Britain and Europe
  • The Politics of Regulation
  • International Organizations
  • Capitalism.

Key Research Interests

The European Union is my principal interest, where my research has mainly focused on five areas.

EU institutions. Work with Anand Menon in 2004 explored the Commission's relative decline since the late 1980s, while papers with Dionyssis Dimitrakopoulos examined the Commission's input to the Constitutional Convention, and chapters in books edited by Andy Smith (2004) and David Spence (2006) looked at the role, operation and impact of the Secretariat General of the European Commission. More recently, I led a project,  'The European Commission in Question' with John Peterson -- also involving Michael W. Bauer, Sara Connolly, Renaud Dehousse, Liesbet Hooghe, and Andrew Thompson -- which sought to test accepted wisdoms about the Commission and the people who work for it, using responses to an online survey and a programme of face-to-face interviews of administrators conducted by the research team. The findings, presented in Kassim et al (2013) The European Commission of the Twenty-First CenturyOxford University Press, exposed as myths many widely held beliefs about the Commission.

A second project, 'European Commission: Facing the Future', I am leading with Sara Connolly and involving Michael W. Bauer, Renaud Dehousse and Andrew Thompson, uses original data drawn from a survey administered to all members of Commission, a programme of more than 230 interviews, and focus groups conducted between March and September 2014 to investigate leadership, management and coordination,  the employment histories and career trajectories of Commission staff, socialization, values and organizational culture in the Commission, experience of the Commission as a workplace, and HRM in the Commission To our knowledge, this is the largest study of an international administration carried out by independent academic researchers. A first round of publications is now largely complete, including Connolly and Kassim (2015), which looks at the profile of permanent officials in the Commission, Kassim (2016) the Juncker Presidency, Connolly and Kassim (2016) the debate on the socialization of staff in the European Commission, and Kassim et al (2017) the impact of presidentialization in the European Commission on policy activism.

A third project, 'Understanding the EU Civil Service: the General Secretariat of the Council', investigates one of the lesser known parts of the EU administration. Conducted with Sara Connolly, Michael W. Bauer, Renaud Dehousse, Brigid Laffan, and Andrew Thomspon, this project investigates the backgrounds, careers and values of GSC staff, their experience of the GSC as a workplace and their attitudes to change management, and the internal operation of the Secretariat. An Interim Report and Final Report have been submitted to the organization. Planned research outputs include comparisons of the background, motivations and values of staff with Commission personnel, socialization, and examination of patterns of staff interaction insider and outside the organization.

The national coordination of EU policy. My interest in this field originated with a collective project with B. Guy Peters and Vincent Wright, later joined by Anand Menon, and based on workshops at Nuffield College, Oxford, which led to the publication of Kassim et al (2000, 2001) The National Coordination of EU policy, Oxford University Press, 2 vols. It continued in overview pieces written mainly for edited collections (e.g. Hayward and Menon 2003, Featherstone and Radaelli 2003) and handbooks (Magone 2015). To my considerable disappointment, a collective project on seven of the former Communist states that joined the EU in 2004 remains unpublished.

The EU and the member states. A project conducted with Anand Menon led to the publication by Routledge of a series four co-edited volumes that investigated the impact of EU action on national policy and policy making - The European Union and National Industrial Policy (Kassim and Menon 1996), The European Union and National Macroeconomic Policy (Forder and Menon 1998), The European Union and National Defence Policy (Howorth and Menon 1997), and The European Union and National Social Policy (Hine and Kassim 1998). A monograph, co-authored with Handley Stevens, Air Transport Policy and the European Union (2010), investigated how the EU emerged as an actor in aviation, assessed the impact of EU action on the national aviation policy and policy making, and explored how the EU redefined the international regime that regulates aviation in Europe and beyond. With Adriaan Schout, I am leading a project investigating national narratives and the EU.

EU competition policy. Work with Kathryn Wright has examined the origins and impact of the European Competition Network (ECN), an article with Pinar Akman looked at the myths of EU competition policy as part of a project led by Vince della Salla, and a journal special issue with Bruce Lyons investigated how EU state aid policy was affected by the financial and economic crisis. I am currently working on projects with Vanessa Buth and Hagen Streb on the institutionalization of DG IV, and with Francesca Vantaggiato and Kathryn Wright on the ECN. 

EU governance. The role of national administrations in EU governance (Kassim and Wright 1991) were an early interest. I was also curious about -- and somewhat sceptical of -- the application of the policy networks approach to the EU (Kassim 1994). An ESRC Research Seminar, entitled ‘Modelling Political Accountability: Principal-Agent in Government and Politics’ and co-convened with Peter John, Bill Tompson and Catherine Waddams, critically assessed the value of that model in a variety of settings - the EU, central and eastern Europe, and UK regulation. A special issue of West European Politics, co-edited wth Patrick le Galès in 2010, meanwhile, examined EU governance from a policy instruments perspective.

Research highlights include:

The European Commission of the Twenty-First Century, book published 2013.

“‘The Commission of the 21st Century’ has produced the largest and richest data set on attitudes of Commission officials ever uncovered. The project’s findings will help us make the Commission a more efficient and effective administration that better serves European citizens." José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission

‘The book is a landmark in developing our understanding of how policy-making bureaucracies work and how such bureaucracies should be studied’, Edward C. Page, London School of Economics.

‘A new starting point for those who need to know about the institutions of the European Union.’ George Ross, Université de Montréal

‘The most comprehensive and sophisticated examination of the Commission available in the literature’, B. Guy Peters, University of Pittsburgh

‘This book offers a detailed and stimulating portrait of a unique institution that represents a clear innovation in Europe's political organization.’ Morten Egeberg, University of Oslo

 Air Transport and the European Union: Europeanization and its Limits, book published 2010

‘This book makes a very important contribution to the theoretical debate about European integration and Europeanization, while providing the definitive account of how European air transport was deregulated.’ Martin Staniland, University of Pittsburgh

Air Transport and the European Union provides a new and comprehensively researched perspective on the defining period in the evolution of European air transport.’ Daniel Calleja, Director of Aviation, European Commission

‘Anybody who believes that governments and company interests are sufficient to explain the dynamics of economic integration needs to read this book.’ Cornelia Woll, Sciences Po Paris, CERI, CNRS

‘ … a masterful treatment of the politics of international aviation that will be of great interest to political scientists, lawyers, and practitioners.’ Yannis Karagiannis, Institut Barcelona d'Estudis Internacionals

Journal special issues

Lyons, B. and Kassim, H. (2013) ‘State Aid Policy: Evolution and Impact’, Journal of Industry Competition and Trade, 13:1, based on papers presented at ‘State Aid. The Present Crisis and Beyond’, convened by the ESRC Centre for Competition Policy, UEA.

Kassim, H and le Galès, P. (2010) 'Exploring Governance in a Multi-Level Polity: A Policy Instruments Approach' in West European Politics, 33:1, based on workshops held at Sciences Po Paris in 2007 and at PSI, UEA in 2008.



Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 9 - Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities

Education/Academic qualification

Doctor of Philosophy, University of Oxford

Award Date: 1 Jan 1996

Master of Philosophy, University of Oxford

Award Date: 1 Jan 1989

Bachelor of Arts, University of Oxford

Award Date: 1 Jan 1987

External positions

Fellow, , The European Governance and Politics Programme, European University Institute, San Domenico

2018 → …

Visiting Professor, College of Europe

2015 → …