Other languages of instruction: Catalan, Spanish,
The process of institutionalization and deepening of the European Union and the expansion of the areas covered by EU law enhance the need to offer students a knowledge of the functioning of its institutions and legal system, as well as the basic areas of competence of the European Union and the contents of its regulations. About the EU current priorities, the challenges the EU is facing.
1-. Tell me about you: from which University do you come, your background, any particular point of interest of the EU.
2-. Let’s focus on four main challenges of our societies:
- Climate change (have your heard about UN SDG? or the EU green deal?
- Migrations: both economically and politically motivated. Italy and Spain. What response can we give to humanitarian crisis. Ukraine, African countries, Afghanistan? Women in Afghanistan…
- Digital transition
- Completely unexpected: Covid-19 pandemic
- Completely unexpected: war in Eastern Europe.
For these challenges, do you prefer acting alone as Italy or Spain, or as EU? What’s more effective…?
3- Have you heard about NGEU founds?
4-. What do you think about Euro, the European Central Bank. Have you heard about the “kira” or the “peseta” . How do you think they will have resisted the financial crisis?
The course allows the student to understand the phenomenon of European integration; the study of its institutional system; and legal order from the perspective of relations with the Member States' legal systems and the mechanisms for its application.
- 33 - To be able to search for, interpret and convey information.
- 41 - To be able to descriptively summarise information.
- 45 - To be able to work with academic papers.
- 46 - To acquire the ability to understand and participate in conferences and lectures in an academic context.
- 50 - To acquire the ability to relate concepts, analyse and synthesise.
- 53 - To acquire the skills necessary to learn autonomously.
- 56 - To be able to create arguments which are conducive to critical and self-critical thinking.
- 65 - To acquire the ability to put knowledge into practice.
- 66 - To be able to retrieve and manage information.
- Students shall gain solid knowledge about the European integration and the institutional system evolution.
- Students shall comprehend and understand the rules applying to European freedoms and the content of such freedoms.
- Students shall acquire skills in order to apply the EU legal order in the required context.
- Students shall acquire team working skills.
- Students shall be more sensitive to respect other traditions and cultures.
- Students shall acquire sensitivity towards topics related to fundamental rights.
- Students shall be able to do research, to interpret information and to use it in order to solve practical problems related to EU law.
- Students shall acquire skills for autonomous learning.
1.History of the European integration
In these introductory lectures, we will examine the history of the European integration process and the important role of law in that process. We will discuss the context within which the integration process was started, and the changes (legal, political, geographical) that it has gone through from 1950 until today,
2. The EU Institutions and the legislative process
In these lectures, we will look at the institutional machinery of the EU (i.e. the Commission, the Council, the Parliament and the Council of the EU) and focus on what can be seen as its “political process”. It is generally recognised that there is no classical separation of powers in the EU between the legislature, executive and judiciary. Instead, each institution exercises a combination of these roles and their powers are further blurred by the distinction between national and supranational level of government. Understanding this proves fundamental to anybody interested in practising EU law or involvement in EU politics.
3. Enforcement and judicial review of EU Law
The EU does not have a police force, or an elaborate system of EU courts to enforce the obligations that Member States enter into. So how does it ensure that Member States do not breach EU law but implement and enforce its norms? We will examine the judicial architecture of the EU, mainly the European Court of Justice, in Luxembourg. We will also look here at the infringement procedure, through which the Commission can take Member States to Court to ensure that it obeys EU law. We will also look at the possibility for institutions, Members States and individuals to challenge the validity of EU law in an action before the ECJ and we will also review the most important procedure, preliminary reference, through which national courts can send questions on the interpretation and validity of EU Law to the Court.
4.EU Law key principles: supremacy and direct effect
According to the Court of Justice, EU law is an autonomous legal order that limits national sovereignty and creates rights directly which individuals can invoke in national courts. EU law is based, mainly, on two principles: supremacy and direct effect, both of them created and developed by the Court of Justice. Both will be examined through the analysis of decisions.
5. The rule of law and fundamental rights
The EU claims to be founded on the values of respect for human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights. But what is the reality? Does the EU have an autonomous notion of these values, and what role should fundamental rights play within the EU?
The rule of law is one of the EU’s foundational values and is generally considered a distinctive feature of the EU, which distinguishes it from other international organisations. Its rules and norms are considered by many to be similar to those of a federal state; yet, throughout its history the EU sought to avoid such description in its self-portrait presenting it as a “sui generis” entity. EU competences will also be examined.
In this session we are going to discuss three issues: (a) the role of fundamental rights in the post-war European political and constitutional context, (b) the evolution of the legal system of fundamental rights protection in the EU, through the Charter of Fundamental Rights, the general principles of EU law and the European Convention on Human Rights; and (c) the question of how and if the EU can secure its fundamental values, which include fundamental rights and the rule of law when its own Member States are not complying with these values.
6. EU citizenship
Union citizenship was introduced in 1992 in the Treaty of Maastricht as a ‘purely political declaration’. The idea was, bluntly put, that the construction of a Political Union presupposed the creation of a ‘European people’, even tough only on paper. Since then, the concept of Union citizenship has changed significantly, and now constitutes the ‘most fundamental status of nationals of the Member States’, entitling them to equal treatment wherever they find themselves in the EU. This lecture will analyse the content of the rights associated to EU citizenship and how the some of these rights are now being challenged in some Member States.
7. The four fundamental freedoms
These lectures will examine the political and historical reasons behind the internal market and the different legislative tools to harmonize legislation, mainly in the area of goods, the one that has been mostly developed. We will also study the main cases through which the Court of Justice has developed some of the concepts included in the treaties, like, for instance, “measures having equivalent effects”.
8. EU competition law
Competition law constitutes one of the key areas of EU competence. EU competition law aims at ensuring a free and fair competition within the internal market to the benefit of all EU citizens. The lecture will deal with the rules on company concentrations and mergers as well as the limitations imposed by the Treaties to state aid and the way these rules are enforced.
Evaluation systems and criteria
Bibliography and resources
- Craig, P, De Búrca, G., EU Law. Text, Cases, Materials (7aed. OUP) 2020.
- Mangas Martín, A., Liñán Nogueras, D. (dirs), Instituciones y Derecho de la Unión Europea (9aed. Tecnos) 2016.