Course Description

601:740. Introduction to European Union Law (2)

Fall, 2014

Institute for Austrian, European and Comparative Public Law,

Political Science and Administrative Studies

Univ.-Prof. Dr. Stefan STORR

Universitätsstraße 15, ReSoWi-Zentrum C3

A-8010 Graz

Tel 0316/380 6695



In the 50ties and 60ties of the last century the European Union was founded as an economic community and has since become an increasingly compact federation of European states. But the EU is no federal republic, its member states are still the “masters of the Treaties”. Although the implementation of a European constitution failed some years ago, the EU is an important factor in law-setting in Europe, giving the member states not only guidelines but harmonizing and unifying their legal structures and institutions.

An excellent field to show these complex coherences between European and National law is the economy. Therefore, it will be the main objective of the course to familiarize students with this sophisticated legal framework.

The course will be divided into three major parts:

I. The key institutional aspects of the European Union:

  • The development of the European Union from the European Coal and Steel Community in 1954 to the EU Treaty of Lisbon in 2009. What is the Union like? Are its member states still sovereign? What does a loss of sovereignty mean for the member states?

  • What are the respective powers and functions of the EU key institutions (European Council, Council, European Commission, European Parliament, European Court of Justice)?

  • How is the decision-making process in the Union regulated? What powers do the member states have in this process? What kind of laws may the EU set?

  • How is the relationship between EU law and national law? What rules apply in case of a collision of national and EU law? What mechanisms exist to solve these conflicts? What is the role of the European Court of Justice and what tasks do the national courts have?

II. The economic law of the European Union:

  • Economic integration law includes the creation of the “Internal Market” which shall comprise an area without internal frontiers in which the free movement of goods, persons, services and capital is ensured.

  • The internal market further includes rules to ensure an undistorted competition. A focus of this course will lie on state aids, the privilege of public entities, services of general economic interests (e.g. energy, telecommunication, postal service, public transport) and the European concept of regulated industries.

  • A brief overview of the requirements of public procurement will be provided.

  • Another topic will be the importance of the prohibition of discrimination. Which economic rights do EU citizens have compared to non-EU-citizens?

  • The expectations on the new Fundamental Rights Charter of the EU will be discussed.

III. The role of the EU in the current financial and economic crisis:

  • How is the monetary and economic Union organized? What competences does the Union have and what role do national governments play? How is the budgetary control over member states’ budgets organized and how is the sanction mechanism in the present stability pact regulated?

  • What instruments does the EU have to react to financial and economic crises? Does an obligation of the EU exist to help member states in case of financial or economic difficulties? Is there a duty of solidarity of the member states to help other member states in case of difficulties? May the EU get into debt itself? Where are the institutional deficits and what are the current proposals to remedy these deficiencies?


The expected learning outcome of the course is a basic understanding of the particularities of the Union as a legal phenomenon, an awareness about the rules that apply both on a “political” level as well as in normal private/business transactions, and the ability to better assess the substance of the Union’s claim to be a serious international actor.


Treaty on European Union

Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union

Further statutes required will be announced in class

Recommended Reader: Bergmann/Goebel/Davey/Fox, Cases and Materials on European Union Law

Further decisions of the ECJ will be discussed in class


There will be an oral examination at the end of the class; detailed information about it will be given in class.