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Regular version of the site
Master 2019/2020

EU Politics, Law and Institutions

Category 'Best Course for New Knowledge and Skills'
Area of studies: International Relations
When: 1 year, 3, 4 module
Mode of studies: offline
Master’s programme: International Relations: European and Asian studies
Language: English
ECTS credits: 6

Course Syllabus


The course “EU Politics, Law and Institutions” provides comprehensive knowledge of the set-up and functioning of the European Union, its evolution as well as formal and informal ways of interaction between member states and institutions. In particular, it introduces main institutions and bodies of the EU, their structures and modes of operation; it examines the decision-making in the EU as well as ways of representing interests and influencing decision-making; it studies the judicial system of the EU; it analyses the documents, related to the functioning of various EU institutions and bodies. The course applies neoinstitutional theoretical approaches to the study of the EU institutions, bodies and decision-making procedures as well as makes use of legal analysis. As a result it creates a firm basis for further independent work of students with the EU's institutions, structures and decision-making processes.
Learning Objectives

Learning Objectives

  • The goal of the course “EU Politics, Law and Institutions” is to provide a comprehensive knowledge of the set-up and functioning of the European Union, its evolution as well as formal and informal ways of interaction between member states and institutions.
Expected Learning Outcomes

Expected Learning Outcomes

  • Defines the basic concept of realism and its branches
  • Defines the concept of EU and state policy of EU member states and their preferences
  • Defines neoinstitutionalism as the key paradigm.
  • Analyzes the origin of the concept of Europeanisation and plurality of its meaning
  • Defines the functional nature and the main principles of EU
  • Analyzes the main principles applicable to the EU.
  • Assesses the role of the European Council in the management of the EU: theory and practice.
  • Analyzes the composition and the way of formation of the European Commission and the principles of its operation.
  • Defines the functions of the European Parliament
  • Assesses the evolution of the institution and the effects of its reforms.
  • Analyzes the role of the EU judicial system in the history of European integration.
  • Defines the main steps of the history of the Court of Auditors of the EU and the EU's Anti-Fraud Office and their main functions.
  • Measures the main functions of Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of Regions and their main principles.
  • Defines the main reasons for creation of the European Investment Bank, its organization and main functions.
  • Distinguishes the main reasons and history of independent agencies in the world and in the EU
  • Assesses the direct effects as the essential qualities of EU law
  • Characterizes the structure of EU law and the founding treaties as a constitutive basis of the EU.
  • Analyzes the plurality of interests, affected by legislative changes of the European Union.
  • Assesses the directives as a source of EU law and its unique properties and their examples.
  • Distinguishes the evolution of the budgetary procedure: institutional aspects, from intergovernmental to communitarian type of decision-making.
  • Defines the main Instruments of the ESCB and its functions.
  • Assesses the changes in the management of the euro-zone after the financial crisis of 2008
  • Analyzes the two-pillar structure of EU external relations and assess its coordination
  • Assesses the evolution of cooperation in the field of justice and home affairs.
  • Assesses the European Court of Justice and its role in the construction of the single legal system.
  • Assesses the direct and indirect challenge of EU acts.
  • Assesses the significance and functions of the references for preliminary ruling procedure.
  • Analyzes the problems and perspectives of flexible cooperation and its application.
  • Assesses the possible problems and perspectives of the EU.
Course Contents

Course Contents

  • Introduction. How does the EU work? A System Approach
    Realism, neorealism, neoclassical realism. Constructivism. Complex theory of interrelation between member states and EU institutions. EU as a political system
  • States and their interests: internal political preferences and their rationale
    Internal preferences of EU member states and problems of their realization. The need for the EU context. Political systems of EU member states. Ethnic and religious specificity, forms and dynamics of territorial set-up. State policy of EU member states and their preferences. The problem of security (internal and external). Economics: the state and the market. Social state and taxation. The problems of innovation, information society and environment. External relations.
  • Neoinstitutionaism in studying EU bodies and procedures
    Neoinstitutionalism as the key paradigm. The development of the theory and its evolution, types of neoinstitutionalism: rational choice, historical, sociological, discursive. The specificity of each type. Institutions – structures and institutions – procedures. The process of the institutionalization of the European Union.
  • Problems of integration, europeanisation and transnationalisation of political process
    Europeanisation as a concept of change in the systems of EU member states and other countries, closely cooperating with the EU. The origin of the concept and plurality of its meaning. The EU's political process as a transnationalised process
  • The EU's nature and key competences. Principles regulating the relations between EU institutions and member-states
    The European Union: not an international organization anymore, though not a state yet? The principle of conferral and its consequences for the day-to-day functioning of the EU. Flexibility clause: article 352 TFEU and its significance. Concept of implied powers. The functional nature of EU competences. Three main types of competence: exclusive competences, shared competences and supporting competences. Special competences (coordination of economic and employment policies and the field of Common Foreign and Security Policy). The significance and consequences of the legal basis’ choice. The main principles regulating the exercise of the EU competences and the relations between the EU and its Member States. Subsidiarity principle: origins, meaning. Political control over subsidiarity by EU institutions and national parliaments (the yellow and orange cards procedure). Judicial control by the CJEU. The principle of proportionality and main elements of the proportionality test as applied by the CJEU. Principle of loyal cooperation. Principle of equality and respect of national identities. Solidarity principle. The role of common values for the European integration and in the current functioning of the EU. Scope of the Charter of fundamental rights of the EU. Analysis of Articles 6 and 7 TEU.
  • Inter-Institutional Relations
    Why is the separation of powers concept not applicable to the EU? Principles governing the institutional structure: a “Community of law”; unity of institutions; balance between intergovernmental and supranational institutions. Principle of autonomy of institutions. The problem of the seat of the European Parliament. Principle of sincere cooperation and its application. Institutional balance: a legal principle or a simple description? Interinstitutional agreaments: their role and legal status.
  • European Council
    European council, summit of the Council of ministers? Clarification of the terminology. The role of the European Council in the management of the EU: theory and practice. Historical background of the institution, and its legal basis from the past to the present. Competences and procedural aspects of operation. Informal European councils. An effort to set up permanent contacts among heads of states and governments of EU member-states. The problem of the political status of the decisions of the European council. The problem of permanent overload of the agenda because of the tendency to push up the issues. The role of the presidency in the management of the European Union. The evolution of the presidency.
  • European Commission
    The composition and the way of formation of the European Commission. The college of the Commission and its size. The formation of the college and the possibility to retire it. The principles of the operation of the European Commission. The division of responsibilities among commissioners and the work of the college. The responsibilities of the European Commission. European public service. Jean Monnet as the author of the idea. The development of the public service. The main principles of eurocratia. Kinnock reform of the service. The main functions of the Commission. Legislative. Management. Safeguarding the treaties. Control. Preparation and execution of the budget. Information. Representation. Search for compromise. Guarantee of the coherence of the EU. Increase or decrease in the competences of the Commission? How does the Commission prepare its decisions? The concept of good governance.
  • European Parliament
    From the Assembly to the European Parliament: the evolution of the representative institution of the EU. Elections to the European Parliament: the importance of direct elections. Plurality of electorate systems of member-states. The problem of harmonization of status of members of the EP. Political groups and prospects of European political parties. Is a single list of MEPs possible for the pan-European elections? Functions of the European Parliament. Legislative. Budgetary. Control (channels of control of the Commission, Council and European Council). The right to give consent to the enlargement. Constant growth of EP competences. Internal organization of the EP. The President: functions and rotation. Roles of vice-presidents and quaestors. Bureau: composition and functions. Importance of sectoral committees. Conferences of presidents and committee chairs.
  • Council of the European Union
    Evolution of the institution. Multiple compositions of the single Council. Advantages and disadvantages. Reforms of 1999, 2002 and 2010 and their importance for the efficiency of the Council. Dilemma of coordination and socialisation. Voting procedures in the Council: unanimity, simple majority, qualified majority. Importance of voting procedures for the efficiency of the Council. Changes in the qualified majority voting. Competences of the Council of Ministers. Legislative. Budgetary. Appointment of key officials. Search for understanding among member states. Accountability of the Council. Decision-making process in the Council: working groups, COREPER, Council. Division of responsibilities. Specificity of working groups and COREPER. Specialised committees. Secretariat General of the Council: role in the support and coordination of the Council.
  • EU Judicial System
    The creation and evolution of the EU judicial system. The role of the CJEU in the history of European integration. The Court of Justice: its mission, composition and competence. The status and selection procedure of judges. The functions of the Advocate Generals. Problems regarding the role of the Advocate Generals in the light of the ECHR. Internal functioning of the Court. The role of the President and Vice-president. Court formations and proceedings. Main types of actions: references for preliminary ruling; actions for annulment; actions for failure to act; actions for failure to fulfil obligations; EU liability; opinions on international agreements. The General Court: composition and competence. The Civil Service Tribunal.
  • Other Bodies of Control: Court of Auditors, OLAF, Ombudsman
    History of the Court of Auditors of the EU. Main functions. Mechanisms of investigations. Modalities of formation and internal organisation. History of the EU's Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF). The role of OLAF in the control. Ombudsman: history of the position. Main functions and appointment procedure. Ombudsman initiatives. Combinatioin of legislaive and judicial powers in the position of the ombudsman.
  • Economic and Social Committee. Committee of Regions. Multi-Level Governance
    History of the Economic and Social Committee. The character of representation. Mode of operation and key responsibilities. Insufficient influence of the Economic and Social Committee. History of the Committee of Regions and its evolution. Committee of Regions as an indicator of the increase of activity of subnational entities of multilevel governance. Type of representation. Principles of operation. Key responsibilities. The importance of committees in the formation of the internal market and in the development of the regions. Comparision of the two committees.
  • European Investment Bank
    Reasons for creation of the European Investment Bank. Organization and main functions. Options for the use of the EIB sources for EU member states and third countries. EIB and Russia. Duality of the EIB: a bank and a development agency. Advantages of cooperation with the EIB.
  • EU Agencies and Network Governance
    Reasons and history of independent agencies in the world and in the EU. Typology of agencies and the reasons of their relative weakness in the EU. Common features of agencies. Importance of network structures for agencies Agencies and a regulatory state. Agencies and a new concept of joint administration in the EU.
  • EU law subject matter, essential qualities of EU Law (primacy, direct effect, direct applicability)
    EU law as a legal system sui generis. Differences from national law and public international law. Object and subject of regulation. Territorial and temporary scope of EU law. Essential qualities of EU law. Direct effect: Van Gend en Loos judgment and subsequent development. The significance of Van Gend en Loss criteria. Direct effect of regulations and directives. Direct effect of international agreements. Direct applicability. Primacy: Costa v ENEL judgment analysis. From privacy to efficiency: Internationale Handelsgesellschaft; Simmenthal; Factortame and Francovich judgments. Primacy and the problem of kompetenz-kompetenz.
  • Structure and sources of EU Law. Significance of the Lisbon Treaty
    Structure of EU law. Classification into primary, secondary and supplementary law. Different methods of classification. Hierarchy between the sources of EU law. Founding treaties as a constitutive basis of the EU. Does Europe have or need a constitution? General principle of EU law: origins and significance. Human rights as general principles of EU law. Legal effect of international agreements concluded by the EU. Control of the compatibility of the agreements with the founding treaties by the Court of Justice. Acts of EU institutions. Regulations, directives and decisions. Non-typical acts. Interinstitutional agreements. Role of the CJEU case-law.
  • Law-Making in the EU and the Problem of Interest Representation
    Evolution of procedures: from consultation to ordinary legislative procedure. Specificity of each procedure and relative weight of the institutions in it. the importance of informal consultations for the efficiency of procedures. Plurality of interests, affected by legislative changes of the European Union. An effort to influence the decision-making process. Key principles of lobbying institutions of the EU. The importance of time. Why are institutions interested in lobbying?
  • Direct effect of directives
    Directives as a source of EU law and its unique properties. Van Duyn judgment and the creation of vertical direct effect of directives. Definition of a state authority. Faccini Dori and Marshall - the prohibition of horizontal direct effect. Prohibition of reverse vertical direct effect. The Marleasing principle of conform interpretation: its application and limits. Consequences of the non-implementation of directives: Francovich judgment. Effect of directives before the end of the transposition period: Inter-Environnemental Wallonie and Mangold. Mechanisms to circumvent the prohibition of horizontal direct effect. Incidental effect: Delena Welth. Use of the principle of conform interpretation: Oceano Grupo. Use of exclusion effect of directive: CIA and Uniliver. Differences between exclusion and substitution effect.
  • EU Budget Procedure and Financial Planning. Inter-Institutional Agreements
    Evolution of the budgetary procedure: institutional aspects, from intergovernmental to communitarian type of decision-making. Financial perspective: history and present practice. Current financial perspective. Own resources of the EU: the essence and classification. Other sources of budget-financing in the EU. Budget procedure. Principles of the budget and approval procedure. The responsibility of the Commission for the execution of the budget. Interinstitutional agreements as a reply to white spots in the basic treaties. The essence and main principles. The legal nature of agreements and the way of their negotiations and approval.
  • Macroeconomic Coordination and the Problem of Soft Integration
    The need for economic coordination. Broad economic policy guidelines. Lisbon Process and open method of coordination. Stability and growth pact and its evolution. Changes in the management of the euro-zone after the financial crisis of 2008. Stabilization funds. Six-pact. European Semester. Pact euro-plus. Treaty on Stability, Coordination and Governance (Fiscal Pact).
  • Economic and Monetary Union: Institutions and Decision-Making
    Monetary Union vs. Economic Union. European system of central banks. Criteria for joining the euro and dynamics of enlargement of the euro-zone. Management of the euro-zone. The goal and tasks of the European system of central banks. Instruments of the ESCB. European Central Bank. Internal set-up and functions. Contradictory nature of responsibilities. Independence of the ECB and its contestation. Mister Euro. Ecofin. Committee on economic and social affairs. Euro-zone summits.
  • EU External Relations: Decision-Making
    Two-pillar structure of EU external relations. Traditional links (trade, economic cooperation, development, association, economic assistance): institutional balance and decision-making procedures. New links (foreign policy, security and defence): institutional balance and decisionmaking. The EU's legal personality: history and current state. Mixed treaties. Two-pillar structure: the problem of coordination. High Representative. European External Action Service. Institutional aspects of military cooperation and creation of military and civilian potentials for crisis-management.
  • The Area of Freedom, Security and Justice: Decision-Making
    Evolution of cooperation in the field of justice and home affairs. Key institutions and their cooperation: the Council, Commission, European Parliament, Court. The role of agencies in this field of cooperation. Tampere and ‘Tampere Scoreboard’. The Hague action plan. The Sstockholm Action plan. The problem of reciprocal recognition and legal approximation in the construction of Area of Freedom, Security and Justice.
  • Delegated and Implementing Acts
    Execution: material and regulative. Material execution: member-states’ obligaton, control of the Commission and the Court. Implementation of control. Negotiations between the European Commission and member-states about implementation. European Court of Justice and its role in the construction of the single legal system. The activity of the Court in the 1970s as a way to oppose the eurosclerosis. Current role of the Court. The commission is a body, responsible for reguilative implementation. History of the comitology procedure. Types of committees: historical and current. Delegated and implementing acts. The problem of democratic control of the comitology.
  • Direct challenge of EU acts
    Competence of the CJEU to assess the validity of EU acts. Direct and indirect challenge of EU acts. Which acts may be challenged? Grounds for challenging the validity of EU acts. Nonexistent acts. Who can challenge the validity of EU acts? Privileged and semi-privileged applicants. Locus standi of non-privileged applicants. The meaning of “direct concern” and “individual concern”. Plaumann test and the evolution of the “individual concern” criterium. Attempts to liberalise “individual concern”: Jego-Quere and UPA. Lisbon treaty and the locus standi of non-privileged applicants. Meaning of the term “regulatory act”. Consequences of the annulment of EU acts.
  • Indirect challenge of EU acts. Reference for preliminary ruling procedure.
    Indirect challenge vs. direct challenge. Preliminary rulings as a form of dialogue between national courts and EU courts. Significance and functions of the references for preliminary ruling procedure. Who can address a reference to the Court of Justice? Meaning of the term “court or tribunal”. Right vs. obligation to make a reference. Control of the admissibility of references by the Court of Justice.
  • Flexible / Enhanced Integration: Advantages and Problems
    The reasons for flexible cooperation and its evolution, flexible cooperation as an instrument to overcome the dilemma deepening vs. enlargement. Is it a threat to European integration? Institutional aspects of flexible cooperation. Classification of flexible cooperation. The problems and perspectives of flexible cooperation and its application.
  • The Future of the European Union
    Democratic deficit in the EU and ways to solve it: strengthening of the European Parliament, recognition that the EU is a regulative state, demos-formation, strengthening of national parliaments. The problem of deepening integration. Ways of changing the basic treaties: from intergovernmental conferences to conventions. Will the UK leave the European Union and what would be the consequences?
Assessment Elements

Assessment Elements

  • non-blocking Эссе
  • non-blocking Экзамен
    Экзамен проводится в письменной форме с использованием асинхронного прокторинга на платформе LMS (http://lms.hse.ru). К экзамену необходимо подключиться за 15 минут до начала, чтобы авторизоваться и пройти проверку компьютера на платформе Экзамус. Компьютер студента должен удовлетворять требованиям, сформулированные здесь https://elearning.hse.ru/data/2020/05/07/1544135594/Технические%20требования%20к%20ПК%20студента.pdf. Для участия в экзамене студент обязан: включить камеру и микрофон. Во время экзамена студентам запрещено: консультироваться с любыми другими лицами непосредственно или с использованием любых технических средств (в т.ч. компьютера, телефона, смартфона, айпеда, нетбука, в т.ч. через звонки, социальные сети, мессенджеры), пользоваться информационной сетью Интернет для поиска информации для ответов, пользоваться любыми средствами, в т.ч. конспектами и обязательной литературой во время первой части экзамена, отлучаться во время написания любой части. Во время экзамена студентам разрешено: пользоваться своими записями и файлами обязательной литературы во время второй и третьей частей экзамена, отлучаться от компьютера в перерывах между частями экзамена. Кратковременным нарушением связи во время экзамена считается 30 секунд при условии ее возникновения не чаще 1 раза в 30 минут. Долговременным нарушением связи во время экзамена считается временной период, превышающий 30 секунд в каждые 30 минут. При долговременном нарушении связи студент не может продолжить участие в экзамене. Процедура пересдачи аналогична процедуре сдачи, проходит в рамках регулярной пересдачи в сентябре с.г. или в иные сроки дополнительной сессии, установленной правилами НИУ ВШЭ..
  • non-blocking Работа на семинаре
  • non-blocking Презентация
Interim Assessment

Interim Assessment

  • Interim assessment (4 module)
    0.12 * Презентация + 0.18 * Работа на семинаре + 0.6 * Экзамен + 0.1 * Эссе


Recommended Core Bibliography

  • The institutions of the European Union / ed. by John Peterson and Michael Shackleton. (2012). Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edswao&AN=edswao.36716891X
  • Европейское право. Право Европейского Союза и прав. обеспеч. защиты прав человека: Учебник / Рук. авт. колл. и отв. ред. Л.М.Энтин - 3 изд., пересмотр. и доп. - М.: Норма: НИЦ Инфра-М, 2012-960с.: 60x90 1/16.(п) ISBN 978-5-91768-309-6 - Режим доступа: http://znanium.com/catalog/product/368071
  • Под ред. Абдуллина А.И., Безбородова Ю.С. - ЕВРОПЕЙСКОЕ ПРАВО. Учебник и практикум для академического бакалавриата - М.:Издательство Юрайт - 2019 - 238с. - ISBN: 978-5-534-03326-7 - Текст электронный // ЭБС ЮРАЙТ - URL: https://urait.ru/book/evropeyskoe-pravo-433187
  • Право Европейского Союза и практика Суда Европейского Союза : учеб. пособие, Энтин, К. В., 2015
  • Право Европейского Союза и практика Суда Европейского Союза: Учебное пособие / Энтин К.В. - М.:Юр.Норма, НИЦ ИНФРА-М, 2015. - 240 с.: 60x90 1/16 (Обложка) ISBN 978-5-91768-544-1 - Режим доступа: http://znanium.com/catalog/product/478768

Recommended Additional Bibliography

  • Европейское право. Отрасли права Европейского Союза и Евразийского экономического союза : учебник / рук. авт. кол. и отв. ред. Л. М. Энтин, М. Л. Энтин. — Москва : Норма : ИНФРА-М, 2020.-416с. - Текст : электронный. - URL: http://znanium.com/catalog/product/1055870