The Foundations of European Institutionalisation
Full course description
The end of the Second World War marked for Europe the beginning of a shared venture of increasing collaboration and integration through the establishment of the European Union (and its predecessors) and the Council of Europe. These two 20th century Europeanisation programs were first and foremost designed to strengthen the normative ideals of constitutional democracy. The values of the European Union revolve around ‘respect for human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights’ (Treaty on the European Union, Article 2). The aim of the Council of Europe at its inception in 1949, was to achieve greater unity between “like-minded European countries” and their “common heritage of political traditions, ideals, freedom and the rule of law” in the aftermath of the Second World War (Statute of the Council of Europe, article 1).
This course analyses the rationales and normative justifications of the two major institutions that dramatically changed the European legal and political landscape after the Second World War. How can they be understood as purposeful social and legal creations?
As a whole, we take the study of the relative novel European legal institutions – the EU (and its predecessors), and the Council of Europe (including the ensuing EC(t)HR)) as a starting point to rethink age-old legal phenomena. Where Advanced European Law, the other course in the first block of this Masters’ program, primarily analyses European Union law as positive law, this course has a more legal-philosophical disposition. It analyses the normative foundations of European integration and seeks to answer questions about the justification, nature, and the desirable forms of supranational state cooperation.
Lectures and tutorials (each two hours a week)
Group project (3 to 4 students) and written exam
After completing the course, students will be able:
- to explain the development of European institutions conceptually and trace it back to some of the main philosophical paradigms of contemporary thought;
- To explain and discuss institutional theories of law, apply them to European institutions, and take a position in the debate;
- to define the main concepts and theories concerning the process of European institutionalisation;
- to formulate a definition of European institutionalisation;
- to reflect critically on the normative justification of European institutions and explain conceptually the interaction among their main actors;
- to illustrate the underlying principles and mechanisms of European institutionalisation (e.g., rule of law, margin of appreciation);
- to reflect on the role that law plays in European integration, and how such role can be problematised from a societal and political perspective;
- to apply analytical skills in examining the theoretical implications of the interaction between national and supranational legal systems and the interpretation of some important rulings in the field.