In the shadow of a fast-approaching Brexit, how can the United Kingdom and the European Union redesign a relationship in which EU law had come to permeate nearly every aspect of British life? Why has a new European privacy regulation become a centerpiece of Facebook’s efforts to rebuild trust in its global social network? What authorities, and constraints, bind EU agencies and courts when they confront U.S. multinational technology giants or security and surveillance programs? What legal tools can “Brussels” deploy to respond to challenges from Moscow, rein in countries that stray from the rule of law, and adapt to new worldwide trade and investment trends?
This two-credit survey tackles such questions in the course of providing a comprehensive introduction to the scope and operation of the law of the European Union. The first half begins by focusing on the key legal and political dimensions of European integration and the main features of the succession of treaties that have led to today’s Union. We then examine the EU judiciary and its relationship to national constitutional courts, followed by consideration of the EU’s increasingly important fundamental rights and citizenship framework. In the second half, we turn to the EU’s internal market arrangements, the law governing its economic and other external relations, and data privacy and associated security issues, before concluding with a look at legal quandaries stemming from Brexit and at the prospects for the EU’s future.
The course is led by instructors with long experience counseling the U.S. government and private sector in Washington and in Brussels on how to engage with and understand the EU and its governing institutions. (Views expressed by the instructors are their own, not attributable to their employers.) Ranging across EU constitutional, administrative, human rights, economic, security and foreign relations law, the course includes comparisons to U.S. legal concepts and cases as appropriate. Students also will gain a political appreciation for how EU bodies interact with each other and with member states. A research memorandum on a current EU law topic of the student’s choice is the principal form of assessment.
The course has no prerequisites. International Law or related courses may be useful at the margins. Students who have taken European Law and Policy in Times of Crisis are not eligible to enroll.