Integration within the EU has proceeded by trial and error, often progressing by leaps from one phase to another. Its dynamics has been a function of shifting political majorities in the Member States and of the relationships between the institutions; of the geopolitical situation of Europe; of the economic climate; and of successive enlargements. This process has not followed some meta-script prescribed by the founders of the European Communities; it has taken the form of successive responses to specific crises, and it has been heavily path-dependent. Typically, the various phases of EU integration begin with constitutional moments in which new balances of power are defined both horizontally, between the various institutions, and vertically, between the Member States and the EU. Such phases also often take the form of 'projects,' such as the establishment of the internal market, the creation of an economic and monetary union, the establishment of an area of freedom, security and justice, or the building of a 'knowledge economy' reconciling competitiveness with social equity and environmental sustainability.
This process has been characterized by various approaches to policy-making and governance. It has also been interpreted or promoted by competing theories of European integration. Some of these theories have sought mainly to offer post hoc explanations of why integration has proceeded as it did. Others are openly prescriptive or evaluative in nature. Some have been influential primarily within the research community. Others have been shaping the views of policy-makers, providing them with a vocabulary or a worldview to justify their choices - indeed, some theories have been openly espoused by the technocratic elites or by political leaders, or even developed by them: this is the case of neo-functionalism since the origins, of the 'third way' in the late 1990s, and of 'new governance' approaches particularly after 2000.
This course on law and governance in the EU offers to re-examine the process of integration within the EU by relocating its developments against the background of these ideas that have sought both to explain integration and to shape it. It is not a course in the history of ideas. But it is premised on the view that ideas matter, and that the path towards European integration can be better understood by reflecting on the background theories that have influenced the actors of integration - whether these are political actors, technocrats, or judges. It does not presuppose that one particular theory provides the meta-narrative that offers the key to understanding integration. Instead, it recognizes that different theories may have have an impact on various projects of European integration, that these influences may have varied over time, and that the channels of influence may differ. In that sense, the course will adopt a pluralistic approach to European integration: it shall not rank various theories according to their explanatory power, based on whether they 'fit' more or less well the process of integration, or according to the desirability of what each of these theories has to prescribe. Instead, the course will link each 'project' leading to European integration to certain background theories or doctrines that it is most closely connected to, in order to illustrate how legal developments and the development of various modes of governance are indebted to such theories.
The course will introduce to the main projects of European integration, and relate each project to various understandings of governance and theories of integration. The legal materials examined will therefore be replaced both in their intellectual context, and in the political and economic circumstances that explain both that certain projects were formulated at particular moments in time, that they took a particular shape, and that they relied on particular regulatory techniques. The aim of the course is to provide the students with an understanding of the different phases of European integration; how they overlap and relate to one another; and how the logic of each phase can be reconstructed. The structure of the course follows roughly the different phases of European integration in chronological order, but since each component project (and corresponding policy domains) cuts across different phases, and since certain projects, such as the reform of European governance or the strengthening of the role of values and human rights in EU, are not limited to specific policy domains or to 'projects', that order has not been rigorously adhered to. The list of suggested readings is a long one, but these readings will be divided among students at the first session and, on average, each student will have only one reading to prepare for each session.
The final grade will be based on class participation (20%), critical questions on the assigned reading (30%), and a term paper of approximately 5,000 words (50%).