The course introduces students to the basic principles, notions and institutional arrangements that constitute the European Union experiment. It purports to equip students with the essential knowledge and a critical approach to the EU model that will enable them to fully grasp and comprehend the context in which further analyses on the EU are offered by the programme.
The European Union, treated as a unique experiment of institution-building beyond the strictly formatted confines of traditional international law, underwent a series of dynamic and constructive transformations. European integration remains first and foremost a process, while its conclusion is constantly evolving. Faced with identity crises, the EU is currently once more re-inventing itself.
The course offers an overview of the principal institutions and actors in the decision and policy making system of the EU, their role, nature and competences.
The normative basis, the constitutional foundation upon which the EU is constructed and functions are the focal points of the course.
It reflects on the position of the EU, as a supra-national institution, in the international arena, and assesses its interrelation with its constituting member states. The role of the EU in international organisations and its initiatives in the field of security, defence, foreign policy inform the analysis offered by the course.
The course is outlined in the following 13 components.
1. The nature and identity of the EU.
2. Fundamental principles of the EU.
3. Detecting the common constitutional traditions of member states
4. EU institutional design.
5. Decision-making in the EU.
6. Law-making in the EU.
7. The scope of EU policy-making. Competences and soft law.
8. Application and enforcement of EU laws and policies.
9. The pillar structure and policy-making mechanisms.
12. External competences. International and mixed agreements. The EU and its member states in international organisations.
13. Reflecting on the constitutional future of the EU.
Students will familiarise themselves with the institutional setting and the law and decision-making mechanisms of the EU. They will be confronted with the fundamental principles underpinning the Union constitution, and its interplay with member states legal orders.
The course purports to constitute the foundation for a clear and comprehensive understanding of the EU system. It offers students the critical understanding of the EU that is considered essential for the analyses offered in the rest of the programmes’ courses.
D. Chalmers, G, Davies, G. Monti, European Union Law. Cases and Materials (CUP, 3rd edn, 2014).
P. Craig & G. de Burca, EU Law. Texts, Cases and Materials (OUP, 5th edn, 2011).
P. Craig & G. de Burca, The Evolution of EU Law (OUP, 2nd edn, 2011).
P. J. Kuijper et al., The Law of EU External Relations (OUP, 2013).
I. Ward, A Critical Introduction to European Law (CUP, 3rd edn, 2009).
T. C. Hartley, European Union Law in a Global Context (CUP, 2004).
G. de Burca & J. H. H. Weiler, The Worlds of European Constitutionalism (2011).
J. Bast & A. von Bogdandy (eds), Principles of European Constitutional Law (Hart, 2011).
T. Tridimas, The General Principles of EU Law (OUP, 3rd edn, 2014).
J. Habermas, The Crisis of the European Union. A Response (Polity, 2013).
P. Craig, The Lisbon Treaty. Law, Politics and Treaty Reform (OUP, 2013)
J. H. H. Weiler, The Constitution of the EU (CUP, 1999).
K. Lenaerts, P. Van Nuffel & R Bray, Constitutional Law of the European Union (Sweet & Maxwell, 2nd edn, 2004).
A Arnull & D. Wincott, Accountability & Legitimacy in the European Union (OUP, 2003).
P. Eeckhout, External Relations of the EU (OUP, 2003).
G. de Baere, Constitutional Principles of EU External Relations (OUP, 2008).
Additional Bibliography J. Habermas, The Postnational Constellation (Polity, 2000).
N. MacCormick, Questioning Sovereignty (OUP, 2002).
C Harlow, Accountability in the European Union (OUP, 2002).
J. H. H. Weiler & M. Wind, European Constitutionalism Beyond the State (CUP, 2003).
WG Hart Workshop, European Union Law for the 21st Century (Hart, 2004).
A. Pottakis, Representative Democracy in Europe. The Democratic Legitimacy of Decision-making Institutions of the EU (VDM Verlag, 2009).
J. Dickson, P. Eleftheriadis, Philosophical Foundations of EU Law (OUP, 2012).
D. Chalmers, European Union Public Law (CUP, 2012).
G. Majone, Rethinking the Union of Europe Post-Crisis. Has Integration Gone Too Far? (CUP, 2014).
Tutorials 13 x 2 = 26 h
7 x 2 = 14 h
Total = 40 h
Final Exam %
Course Participation %
Legraina campus, Cape Sounion (lectures); Achaiou str. premises, Athens (tutorials).
While the ‘Course Objectives’ and ‘Educational Outcomes’ above remain immutable, the ‘Course Content’ and ‘Course Outline’ may be altered in order to accommodate students’ needs and individual professors’ approaches. Bibliography and reading materials may vary accordingly.