ASTK18296U Jean Monnet course: The Legalization of EU Politics and International Relations
Bachelor student (2012 programme curriculum): 20 ECTS
Bachelor student (2017 programme curriculum): 15 ECTS
Master student: 15 ECTS
This course is part of the activities organised by Jean Monnet Chair in EU Law & Politics and, hence, is co-funded by the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union.
EU and International legal, political science and international relations scholars have recently developed theories about the relevance of EU law for Member State compliance and the development of national legal systems, that has proved very fruitful in explaining some of the central European problems and crisis that are of interest to policy and law-makers (e.g. rule of law crisis in Hungary and Poland, the European economic crisis, or the migration and refugee crisis). This is in part due to the legalization of EU politics, which refers to the reality that legal and judicial actors are increasingly involved in defining and shaping European affairs. Legalization is generally then considered an aspect in which international/european and domestic actors conceive of their legal and policy options as bounded by what is legally allowed. Moreover, it refers to the process in which international law, in conjunction with the proliferation and role of International Organizations and Courts like the EU and the Court of Justice of the European Union, confers new rights and obligations to citizens and other domestic and transnational European actors.
The goal of this course is to provide students with an interdisciplinary perspective for understanding the impact of legal integration in EU politics, which will be also useful and appealing for students interested in exploring the role of international law in international affairs and relations. EU politics and international relations disciplines refer to the behaviour of European and international institutions, Member States and non-State actors in the European arena, but also to how European Union law, and international law more broadly, might affect the multi-level relations between the EU and domestic actors, and, between actors at the national legal arena. This course will offer an innovate approach to the topic by differentiating from the traditional study of international and European relationships taking place in the European and global arena, by focusing on the analysis of European Political interactions in multi-level and domestic context. The main reason for focusing on these levels of interactions is the increasing interest in the political science, international relations and law scholarships and disciplines to explain the role that international and regional legal regimes and courts play in shaping domestic society, politics and law.
This course enables political science and law students, but also students from other interrelated disciplines, such as History or Sociology, to critically discuss how EU and international politics shapes legal and judicial institutions, and vice versa. During the course students will discuss the limitations and opportunities provided by combining political and legal perspectives. Reflecting on this complementarity will give students an added value that will improve their career prospects as researchers, lawyers, policy-makers, judges, civil servants, etc. Moreover, it enhances their capacity to assess their political reality as citizens. All in all, by integrating knowledge and hands-on practice in EU law and politics, students will develop a deep understanding of the dynamics that rule the relations between these two disciplines, empowering them to become agents of legal change within the Danish and European societies.
The course is divided into three parts/blocks covering several topics:
- The first part introduces the students to the relevant approaches, concepts and methods for studying and understanding the interaction between EU law and politics (topics 1 to 4). These three topics provide the students with the analytical tools to follow and develop discussions on legal issues in the framework of a broader political and legal context.
- The second part of the course reviews the main actors and institutional dynamics addressed by the literature in EU Law and Politics and international relations (topics 5 to 9), which special focus on judicial actors and judicial dynamics.
- In the third block of topics (topics 13 to 16), the course will provide analytical insights into the impact of law and politics dynamics on very up-to-date and topical EU policy domains. The analytical concepts and research tools presented in the first four sessions are deployed jointly by the students and course instructor in the following blocks of the course.
Each topic will be discussed in 1 or 2 lectures of 2 hours each. The lectures will be combined with other activities, like students’ presentations, exercises, case studies, etc. During the first sessions, students will be asked about their motivations and professional interest in order to identify topics of interest for their assignments.
Preliminary programme: each general section will consist on several sessions where these topics will be discussed. Sessions will also allocate time for exercises, debates and student presentations:
During the session, students will be asked about their motivations and professional interests in order to identify topics of interest for their final individual written assignments.
2. What is EU law? The EU legal system from the perspective of international and comparative law.
This section will settle the basic legal knowledge necessary for discussing the relationship between EU law & Politics during the whole course.
3. The Legalization of EU Politics and International Relations
This topic will attend to the concept of Legalization of EU politics and International Relations and its relevance for explaining how international law shapes domestic legal and political systems.
4. Theories of Legal Integration: Why do States comply with treaties and obligations?
This section will clarify why States obey international law. In addition, it will discuss whether and how international courts do effectively increase compliance with International commitments adopted by States.
5. The Court of Justice of the European Union as a political actor: Defining and categorizing the CJEU in a pluralistic system of international courts.
After discussing in previous sections to what extent Court of Justice plays a useful role in the European integration process, this section will present discuss the different types of international courts and its origins.
6. Judicialisation of Politics and Politization of the EU judiciary
This section discusses how the process of European integration has encouraged a substantial judicialisation of politics in the EU.
7. EU Judicial Politics: The Court of Justice and its relationship with national courts
The seminar will discuss the different theories and factors explaining the involvement of national courts in legal integration process.
8. On EU legal mobilization: Interest groups, lawyers and civil society
In this session we will ask why individuals, interest groups (e.g. NGO and trade unions) and companies go to court and explores the impact of litigation on policy, institutions and the balance of power among actors.
9. EU Law, Courts, (Social) Media and Public Opinion
The seminar will address how EU law and EU judiciary build public support. An overview of the levels of acceptance towards EU judicial institutions will be provided and will evaluate the sources of this support by assessing diverse explanations.
10. Resistance and Compliance with EU law: Member States, Commission and the CJEU
The seminar will question why Member States do not comply with EU law and their strategies of resistance against the implementation of EU law.
11. Transnational legal making: networks, elites and entrepreneurs in the formation of EU Law
In this section, we will explore the role that transnational elites and networks have played in the EU policy and legal making, beyond the litigation arena.
12. The Judicial Politics of Treaties: Revision and Ratification
In this seminar, we will discuss the relevance and impact of the CJEU and national courts during the revision and ratification of new treaties.
13. The Law & Politics of the Rule of Law in the EU
In this section, we will introduce the recent debate on the rule of law triggered Poland and Hungary, its origins and its political and legal implications.
14. The Law & Politics of EU Economic Governance.
This section introduces the current normative and empirical debates about the impact of this legalization by exploring the views and strategies of actors practically involved in European governance.
15. The Law & Politics of EU migration and refugees’ policies
This seminar will describe the process of ‘communitarization’ and ‘legalization’ of immigration politics and policies, the relative power and influence of member states and EU institutions on that issue, and their impact on the domestic politics and policies of member states.
16. Regional Legal Integration beyond Europe: Replication or Innovation?
In this seminar we will discuss other models of regional legal integration in Latin America and Africa. The discussion will nuance the theoretical approaches to supranationality and supranational adjudication based on the EU model.
17. Wrap-up discussion and questions about the examination
In this session we will revisit the core questions of the course: Why is EU law important for understanding EU Politics? What is legalization? How can we operationalize it? Under what conditions could EU law limit the behavior of European institutions and domestic actors and their interactions? How does it affect the development of national domestic legal systems?
This course will contribute to the students’ competence profile in the following terms.
A) In terms of knowledge, they will be familiar with the fundamental principles of international law and its interaction with international affairs/politics.
Moreover, they will demonstrate working knowledge of international and domestic institutions and actors.
In terms of skills, the students will be able:
(1) To apply this knowledge and analyse conceptual frameworks to account for the relationship between EU politics and the law and apply this framework to other international contexts;
(2) To identify the central issues in the field.
(3) To articulate and develop coherent debates and arguments on the topic;
(4) To work independently with different forms of academic reasoning and collaborate with other peers from law and other disciplines in the development of capabilities and skills in the framework of group presentations, essays and discussions.
Finally, based upon this knowledge and skills, the student will analyse, contrast and evaluate political-legal approaches in EU law and, by extension, to other international legal systems. As a result, the student will be able:
(1) Critically reflect upon the concept of law as a political phenomenon and to evaluate the role and impact of EU and international institutions in its formation.
(2) To develop students’ competences to analyse legal issues from a political-legal perspective.
(3) To enable the student to carry out independent research on these topics.
(4) To improve students’ understanding of the EU political-legal system and political processes affecting:
- Their skills to communicate with political actors or within political work environments (e.g. government, NGOs, European Union institutions and international organizations).
- Their skills to discuss and work with students from other disciplines like law and political science.
- Their reasoning as policy and law-makers helping them to solve legal issues with a high political profile.
- Karen J. Alter, Renaud Dehousse and Georg Vanberg (2002) “Law, Political Science and EU Legal Studies”. European Union Politics, Vol. 3, No. 1, pp. 113-136.
- R. Daniel Kelemen, and Alec Stone Sweet. (2017). Assessing The Transformation of Europe: A View from Political Science. In M. Maduro & M. Wind (Eds.), The Transformation of Europe: Twenty-Five Years On (pp. 193-205). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
- Louis Bélanger and Kim Fontaine-Skronski “Legalization’ in international relations: A conceptual analysis”. Social Science Information (2012) 51: 238-262 
- Alford, Roger P. and O'Connell, Mary Ellen (2002) “An Introduction: The Legalization of International Relations/The Internationalization of Legal Relations”. Scholarly Works. Paper 29 
- Harold Hongju Koh (1997) “Why Do Nations Obey International Law?” 106 Yale Law Journal. 2599. 
- Karen J. Alter (2003) "Do International Courts Enhance Compliance with International Law?". Review of Asian and Pacific Studies. 25: 51-78. 
- William Phelan (2018) “European Legal Integration: Towards a More Liberal Intergovernmentalist Approach” Journal of Common Market Studies, Vol. 56, No. 7, pp. 1562-1577.
- Dorte S. Martinsen (2015) An Ever More Powerful Court? The Political Constraints of Legal Integration in the European Union. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
- Gráine de Burca (2006) “Rethinking law in neofunctionalist theory” Journal of European Public Policy, Vol. 12, No. 2, pp. 310-326.
- Joseph Weiler (2017). The Transformation of Europe. In M. Maduro & M. Wind (Eds.), The Transformation of Europe: Twenty-Five Years On (pp. 1-99). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
- Cesare Romano, Karen J Alter, Chrisanthi Avgerou (2014) Cesare Romano, Karen Alter & Yuval Shany (eds). “Mapping International Adjudicative Bodies, the Issues, and Players.” Oxford: OUP.
- Elise Muir, Mark Dawson, and Brunno de Witte (2013). "Introduction: the European Court of Justice as a political actor". In 01 Judicial Activism at the European Court of Justice. Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar Publishing.
- Karen J. Alter (2008). “Agents or trustees? International courts in their political context.” European Journal of International Relations, Vol. 14, pp. 33-63.
- Dorte Sindbjerg Martinsen (2015) An Ever More Powerful Court?: The Political Constraints of Legal Integration in the European Union. Oxford: Oxford University Press. [Chapter 2]
- Michael Blauberger and Susanne K. Schmidt (2017) “The European Court of Justice and its political impact,” West European Politics, Vol. 40, No. 4, 907-918.
- Olof Larsson, Daniel Naurin, Martin Derlén, M. & Johan Lindholm (2017). Speaking Law to Power: The Strategic Use of Precedent of the Court of Justice of the European Union. Comparative Political Studies, Vol. 50, No. 7, 879–907.
- R. Daniel Kelemen (2013) “Judicialisation, Democracy and Europena Integration” Journal of Representative Democracy, Vol. 49, No. 3, pp. 295-308.
- Olof Larsson and Daniel Naurin (2016). Judicial Independence and Political Uncertainty: How the Risk of Override Affects the Court of Justice of the EU. International Organization, 70(2), 377-408.
- Urszula Jaremba and Juan A. Mayoral (2018) “The Europeanization of National Judiciaries: Definitions, Indicators and Mechanisms” Journal of European Public Policy, Vol. 26, No. 3, pp. 386-406.
- Tommaso Pavone (2018) “Revisiting Judicial Empowerment in the European Union: Limits of Empowerment, Logics of Resistance” Journal of Law and Courts, Vol. 6, No. 2, pp. 303-331
- Marlene Wind (2010), “The Nordics, the EU and the Reluctance Towards Supranational Judicial Review”. JCMS: Journal of Common Market Studies, Vol. 48, pp. 1039-1063.
- Lisa Conant, Andreas Hofmann, Dagmar Soennecken & Lisa Vanhala (2018) Mobilizing European law, Journal of European Public Policy, Vol. 25, No. 9, pp. 1376-1389.
- Tommaso Pavone (2018), “From Marx to Market: Lawyers, European Law, and the Contentious Transformation of the Port of Genoa.” Law & Society Rev. doi:10.1111/lasr.12365
- Juan A. Mayoral and Aida Torres Pérez (2018) On judicial mobilization: entrepreneuring for policy change at times of crisis, Journal of European Integration, Vo. 40, No. 6, pp. 719-736,
- Michael Blauberger, Anita Heindlmaier, Dion Kramer, Dorte Sindbjerg Martinsen, Jessica Sampson Thierry, Angelika Schenk & Benjamin Werner (2018) “ECJ Judges read the morning papers. Explaining the turnaround of European citizenship jurisprudence,” Journal of European Public Policy, Vol. 25 No. 10, pp. 1422-1441.
- Caldeira, Gregory A., and James L. Gibson (1995) “The Legitimacy of the Court of Justice in the European Union: Models of Institutional Support.” The American Political Science Review, vol. 89, no. 2, 1995, pp. 356–376.
- Julian Dederke 2019. Media Attention, Politicization, and the CJEU's Public Relations Toolbox – Discovering determinants of newspaper reports about CJEU decisions. Thesis Manuscript.
- Gerda Falker (2018) “A causal loop? The Commission’s new enforcement approach in the context of non-compliance with EU law even after CJEU judgments.” Journal of European Integration, Vol. 40, No. 6, pp. 769-784.
- Blauberger, Michael. 2012. “With Luxembourg in Mind … the Remaking of National Policies in the Face of ECJ Jurisprudence.” Journal of European Public Policy, Vol. 19, No. 1, pp. 109–126.
- Dorte Martinsen and Juan A. Mayoral "Unfit for patient rights in cross border healthcare? The universalist healthcare model meets the European Union". Comparative European Politics Vol. 15, No. 3, pp. 414-434.
- Antoine Vauchez, (2015) Brokering Europe: Euro-Lawyers and the Making of a Transnational Polity. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
- Fernanda Nicola, and Bill Davies (Eds.). (2017). EU Law Stories: Contextual and Critical Histories of European Jurisprudence. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
- Kathrin Zippel (2004) “Transnational Advocacy Networks and Policy Cycles in the European Union: The Case of Sexual Harassment,” Social Politics: International Studies in Gender, State & Society, Vol.11, No. 1, pp. 57–85
- Pablo J. Castillo Ortiz (2014), “‘Playing the Judicial Card’”. European Law Journal, Vol. 20, pp. 630-648.
- Luis Castro-Montero, J., Alblas, E., Arthur Dyevre and Nicholas Lampach, (2018). “The Court of Justice and treaty revision: A case of strategic leniency?” European Union Politics, Vol. 19, No. 4, pp. 570–596.
- Carlos Closa (2013) “National Higher Courts and the Ratification of EU Treaties”, West European Politics, Vol. 36, No. 1, pp. 97-121.
- Carlos Closa and Dimitry Kochenov (eds) (2016) Reinforcing Rule of Law Oversight in the European Union. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
- Laurent Pech and Kim Scheppele (2017). “Illiberalism Within: Rule of Law Backsliding in the EU.” Cambridge Yearbook of European Legal Studies, Vol. 19, pp. 3-47.
- Michael Blauberger and R. Daniel Kelemen (2017) “Can courts rescue national democracy? Judicial safeguards against democratic backsliding in the EU”, Journal of European Public Policy, Vol. 24, No. 3, pp. 321-336.
- Marija Bartl (2015) “Internal Market Rationality, Private Law and the Direction of the Union: Resuscitating the Market as the Object of the Political.” European Law Journal, Vol. 21, pp. 572–598.
- Claire Kilpatrick (2017). Constitutions, Social Rights and Sovereign Debt States in Europe: A Challenging New Area of Constitutional Inquiry. In T. Beukers, B. De Witte, & C. Kilpatrick (Eds.), Constitutional Change through Euro-Crisis Law (pp. 279-326). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
- Elaine, Fahey (2014) “On the Use of Law in Transatlantic Relations: Legal Dialogues Between the EU and US”. European Law Journal, Vol. 20, No. 3, pp. 368-384.
- Federico Fabbrini (2014) “The Euro-Crisis and the Courts: Judicial Review and the Political Process in Comparative Perspective.” Berkeley Journal of International Law, Vol. 32, 60, pp. 64-123.
- Saskia Bonjour, Ariadna Ripoll Servent & Eiko Thielemann (2018) Beyond venue shopping and liberal constraint: a new research agenda for EU migration policies and politics, Journal of European Public Policy, 25:3, 409-421, DOI: 10.1080/13501763.2016.1268640
- Geddes, Andrew, and Peter Scholten. The politics of migration and immigration in Europe. Sage, 2016.
- Marie De Somer (2019) Precedents and Judicial Politics in EU Immigration Law. UK: Palgrave.
- James Gathii (2011) African Regional Trade Agreements as Legal Regimes. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
- Karen J. Alter and Laurence Helfer (2017) Transplanting International Courts: The Law and Politics of the Andean Tribunal of Justice: Oxford University Press.
- Salvatore Caserta (2017). Regional Integration through Law and International Courts – the Interplay between De Jure and De Facto Supranationality in Central America and the Caribbean. Leiden Journal of International Law, 30(3), 579-601.
a) ‘Case-based’ learning: by discussing examples of cases where EU law and institutions, like the Court of Justice of the European Union, had an impact on domestic legal systems, society and politics. This exercise will also assist, under the guidance of the lecturer, to construct possible explanations of how international law shapes international relations at the domestic level.
b) Theory-building learning with presentations and written papers: where the students theorize and reflect on causal relationships that may explain international legal realities.
Students will be asked to investigate a topic and provide answers grounded in EU politics and law theories. In this regard, the student/s will be asked to undertake a research exercise, under the supervision of the lecturer/coordinator, where the student/s have to find an answer to a problem and present it to a broader audience. The theme for discussions will be agreed in advance with the professor. The feedback collected by the student during the presentation day will be used for developing new ideas connected to the final research assignment.
- Class Instruction
- 15 ECTS
- Type of assessment
- Written assignmentFree assignment
- Exam registration requirements
Free written assignment
- Marking scale
- 7-point grading scale
- Censorship form
- No external censorship
Free written assignment
Criteria for exam assesment
- Grade 12 is given for an outstanding performance: the student lives up to the course's goal description in an independent and convincing manner with no or few and minor shortcomings
- Grade 7 is given for a good performance: the student is confidently able to live up to the goal description, albeit with several shortcomings
- Grade 02 is given for an adequate performance: the minimum acceptable performance in which the student is only able to live up to the goal description in an insecure and incomplete manner