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AIPO 1295A - Institutions of the European Union

Type d'enseignement : Lecture and tutorials

Semester : Autumn 2017-2018

Number of hours : 48

Language of tuition : English



Course Description

The functioning of the European Union (EU) defies all categories recognized by classical international law. From the point of view of the EU, this new form of integrated economic and political cooperation goes far beyond the characteristics of an international organization, creating a sui generis federation of States. On the contrary, the member States of the EU consider that in spite of an implicit supremacy clause within the founding treaties and the direct effect of much EU legislation, the EU remains a classically limited international organization, structured and regulated by an international treaty. The uncertainty as to the future of the organization, following the United Kingdom's vote to leave the EU, is tied to this ambiguity. The present course will analyze both of these pretentions, in order to determine the degree of autonomy and efficiency of the EU legal order. This independence will be demonstrated by analysis of the EU's institutional structure (Part 1), the powers of its institutions (Part 2), and its systemic interactions (Part 3). The first four lectures will therefore cover the structure of the EU, presenting the history and evolution of its foundational treaties, the nature of the EU and its ensuing competences as exercised by unprecedented power sharing political institutions (the European Council, the Council, the Commission, the European Parliament, The European Court of Justice, the European Central Bank, the Court of Auditors) geared at striking a balance between pretentions of the member States, their citizens, and the EU itself. The following four lectures will analyze in detail the internal and external powers of each individual institution, with emphasis on the procedural guarantees and limits aimed at ensuring a representative democracy as established in the foundational treaties. The last four lectures will examine the relationships between the EU institutions (horizontal balance of powers), as well as between the EU institutions and the member States and their citizens (vertical balance of powers). The nature of the institutional balance will show that although the EU does not have a formal constitution, it is possible to claim that it does have a material constitution regulating the autonomy of the EU legal order.


ALLEN-MESTRALLET, Gretchen (PhD. Lecturer)

Pedagogical format

The course will be divided into 12 two-hour lectures. Power points and course outline will be available on Google Drive prior to each lecture. The power points and required reading should be read before each lecture, allowing for 15 minutes of questions and debate at the end of each class hour. Weekly seminars will follow the lectures, and include both practical (case studies and commentaries) and theoretical (essays and debates) exercises. At the end of the course the student is expected to: 1° Understand the distribution of competences between the European Union (EU) and the Member States. 2° Master the specific powers of each EU institution and the principle of institutional balance. 3° Be able to demonstrate the role of the Court of Justice in the development of EU law as applied to Member States and to EU citizens.

Course validation

To validate the course, the student is expected to pass the following assignments: 1/ 2/3 of the final grade is comprised of three equal marks obtained in seminars: one individual presentation (1/3 of the seminar grade), one group presentation (1/3 of the seminar grade), one two-hour midterm examination (essay or text commentary: 1/3 of the seminar grade) 2/ 1/3 of the final grade: final examination (two hours, essay or text commentary)

Required reading

European Constitutional Law, Robert Schütze, Cambridge Editions (2016)