JJUA55290U EU Welfare Law

Volume 2024/2025

Which role and competence do the EU have in the social field and what is its impact on national welfare systems?
The course proposes to discuss these topical and - at times - controversial issues in the context of a changing world of work, climate change and global migration.
First, the focus is on issues, which are central to the internal market such as the free movement of workers including the situation of posting and social security protection. It also addresses the challenges of free movement of citizens, global migration and the EU’s ‘war’ for talents.
We will then go beyond the internal market rationale and discuss the EU’s role in promoting eco-social policies and the sustainability of its welfare states. In this respect, we will assess the impact of the EU pillar of social rights, which aims at reboosting the EU’s social agenda.
Various initiatives have been adopted under this heading, including the political and legal battle for a minimum wage and minimum income to prevent and combat poverty; EU initiatives aimed at protecting new forms of work through labour platforms also through collective bargaining and the directive on work-life balance.
In addressing these issues, the course provides students with a deep knowledge of the EU’s competence in the social field and the various values and principles underpinning the different initiatives within EU welfare law.

Learning Outcome


  • Explain and conceptualise the role of the EU in ensuring free movement of workers and skilled immigration to the EU;
  • Explain and conceptualise the EU competence in the social field and its interaction with the national states;
  • Explain the different pieces of regulation, their interaction or absence thereof, the principles underpinning them and their evolution over time;
  • Understand and explain key rulings of the ECJ, their rationale, impact and coherence



  • Analyse the conceptual framework of the internal market, the aim of a social market economy and the relationship with EU immigration policy
  • Identify, present and connect various pieces of legal regulation (labour law, social security law, free movement law, competition law …)
  • Present in a clear and coherent way key rulings of the ECJ  
  • Be able to place key rulings in their regulatory and political context
  • Present and argue for different arguments in solving a concrete case or answering a question



  • Advise with a solid argumentation on the issue of competence of the EU and its limits;
  • Discuss critically the values and principles underpinning the internal market, the EU’s social initiatives and the place of skilled immigration in this respect;
  • Evaluate critically the role of the EU in promoting the sustainability of the welfare States;
  • Make a concrete and well-argued decision

The literature amounts to approx. 375 pages and will be disclosed before the course’s start.

It consists of a number of key rulings (approx. 10-15) from the European Court of Justice of the EU and a number of journal articles or book chapters on the various topics discussed in the course.

For example, the following chapters from Research Handbooks on EU Law and articles would be included:

Research handbooks:
Research Handbook on the Internal Market, Elgar 2017:

  • Chap. 5, S. Weatherwill, the EU competences to harmonise and its limits, 19 p
    Chap. 7, F. De Witte, The architecture of the social market market economy, 20 p
  • Research Handbook on Social Security, Elgar, 2023:
    Chap 7, A. Aranguiz, Minimum income protection in the EU: From politics to (soft) law, 17 p
     Chap.: 10, N. Rennuy, The general principles of the social security regulation and their outer limits, 20 p
    Chap. 17, P. Melin, Social security rights of third country nationals coming from outside the EU: The scope and meaning of equal treatment, 23 p
  • Research Handbook on EU Citizenship Law and Policy, Elgar, 2022:
    Chap. 14, F. Costamagna and S. Guibboni, EU citizenship and the welfare State, 23 p.,
    Chap. 15, S. Barbou des Places, Progression and retrogression of the ECJ case law on access to social benefits, 13 p



  • C. Jacqueson and F. Pennings, Equal treatment of mobile persons in a social market economy, Utrecht Law Review 2029, pp. 64-80, 17 p.
  • A. Aranguiz, 6 years of the European Pillar of Social Rights: Has it really changed the game? In Pioneering Social Europe, pp. 349-357, Die Keure, 8 p
  • S. Garben, posted workers are persons too! Collected courses for the Academy of EU law, OUP, 2023, forthcoming
  • A. Aranguiz and S. Garben, Combatting income inequality in the EU: A legal assessment of a potential EU minimum wage directive, European Law Review, 2021, pp. 156-174, 17 p.  


It is illegal to share digital textbooks with each other without permission from the copyright holder.

The following activities are envisaged:
- Presentation of milestone court cases
- Group/plenum discussion of articles/book chapters around pre-defined themes and/or questions
- Solving cases on the basis of EU rulings with the support of literature
- Legal clinic on preparing the syllabus
  • Category
  • Hours
  • Preparation
  • 178,25
  • Seminar
  • 28
  • Total
  • 206,25
Continuous feedback during the course of the semester
Feedback by final exam (In addition to the grade)


Students will get continuous feedback from the teacher on their presentation of court rulings and in discussing articles.

Feedback from the teacher on choosing the research question for writing the syllabus


7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Oral exam on basis of previous submission, 20 min.
Type of assessment details
Oral exam based on a synopsis, 20 minutes
Exam registration requirements

In order to attend the oral examination, it is a prerequisite to hand in the synopsis before the specified deadline. The deadline will be stated in the Digital exam.


Read about the descriptions of the individual exam forms, including formal requirements, scope and deadlines in the exam catalogue

Read about practical exam conditions at KUnet

Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
External censorship
Exam period