European Union Law
This course provides an advanced introduction to the law and institutions of the European Union (EU). It is introductory in that the focus is on the constitutional and institutional order of the European Union. Topics like competition, internal market law, social and labour law, contract and consumer law, environmental law, and external relations are left for more specialized courses. It is advanced in that the constitutional issues are analyzed in their most recent incarnation in the European Union of 2009 and with the benefit of a variety of theoretical perspectives drawn from political science and the law. After a presentation of the structure and constitutive principles of the European constitutional and institutional order, the first classes will briefly cover the composition, function, and powers of the legislative and executive branches, i.e. the Council of Ministers, the European Parliament, and the European Commission. This will be followed by an in-depth presentation of the European legal order, its sui generis relationship to national law (immediate validity, primacy, direct effect), but also to international law and its enforcement and liability mechanisms. We will then turn to the European Court of Justice and the system of judicial remedies in the EU. We will also consider a number of other more specific topics that are critical to understanding individual rights and the vertical and horizontal balance of powers in today’s European Union and in particular fundamental rights and EU citizenship. As the long-awaited Reform Treaty, also known as the Lisbon Treaty, may come into force as early as January 2010, much of the course will be devoted to presenting and assessing the important institutional reforms brought by the treaty.
Please note that course organization and content may vary substantially from semester to semester and descriptions are not necessarily professor specific. Please contact the instructor directly if you have particular course-related questions.