The European Union’s Institutions And Core Functions

Course content:

Course presentation

This is an introductory course and aims to present students with the nature and the functions of the EU. We shall engage in a brief historical retrospect on the conditions which led to the creation, enlargement and evolution of the European Community and the European Union. This historical retrospect will show that the EU is characterized by unifying dynamics. We shall then examine the Institutions and their role, both institutional and substantive, as well as the different decision making and, more generally, governance processes of the EU. Secondly, we will study the legality control and human rights protection, as guarded by the principles of primacy and direct implementation of EU law. The former norms shall be examined from the viewpoint the EU citizen. Last but not least, this course will attempt a familiarization of the students with the basic concepts of EMU and the new economic governance.

Outline of the course

Α/α Modules
European Ground and European institutions

Geography – History – Structure – Integration methods – Objectives

Stagesofintegrationandjurisdictions – verticaldistribution of competence

Methods/stagesofcooperation and integration – distribution of competences and exercise thereof – restriction/extension of powers

EU Institutions – horizontal distribution of competence

Main/Secondary Institutions – Composition – Main functions

EU Institutions – horizontal distribution of competence

Main/Secondary Institutions – Composition – Main functions

Legislative procedures

Treaties’ Amendment – Legislative procedures – The role of National Parliaments, civil society etc. – The issue of democratic deficit

Sources of European Union Law

Written – Non-written – informal and soft

Fundamental rights protection

The EU Charter – ECHR – General principles of EU law

Thefundamentalrightsas a shield for the implementation of EU law

8. Primacy and direct implementation of EU Law

Directimplementationvertical/horizontal – the case of directives; before/aftertheimplementationdeadline – conform interpretation–Action in damages

9. Rule of law – effective judicial protection

Les Verts – Heylens – Public Procurement – The Services Directive– Kadi – Factortame – Unibet

10. MonitoringtheactivityoftheEUInstitutions

Extra-judicially: EurCom – Ombudsman – Commission – Court of Auditors

Judicial review and claim for damages

11. Monitoring the activity of the Member States

Direct : proceedings for failure to fulfill an obligation

Indirect: reference for a preliminary ruling

12. EMUconvergencecriteria– ThestabilityandgrowthPact – Six pack and fiscal treaty – new economic governance
13. Revision – Conclusions – Evaluation of the course

Learning objectives

This course is designed for students with no previous knowledge of the nature and functions of the EU and aims to provide that background. This course aspires to familiarize students with the main Institutions and basic functions of the EU. At the end of the semester, students should have acquired basic knowledge in order to be able to debate on the objectives, the function and effectiveness of the European Union. In detail, they will recognize the Institutions of the EU, identify which have decision-making and which merely consultative powers, which ones are intergovernmental and which ones federal. While discussing the EU Institutions and their development as well as the evolution of the EU, we shall explain the dynamics of the unification procedure. Further, students should have an overview of the means available to a European citizen in order to ensure their rights, deriving from the EU, both before the national and the European jurisdictions. This background will allow students to further specialize in specific issues of EU policies in the course of their studies.

Method of assessment

Written examination


1. Obligatory:

  • PowerPoint slides can be found on the website
  • Καλαβρός, Γ.Ε. & Γεωργόπουλος, Θ., 2010. Το δίκαιο της ΕΕ. Αθήνα: Νομική Βιβλιοθήκη.
  • Πλιάκος, Α., 2012. Το δίκαιο της Ευρωπαϊκής Ένωσης, Θεσμικό και Ουσιαστικό Δίκαιο. Αθήνα: Νομική Βιβλιοθήκη.

2. Optional:

  1. Greek
  • Χριστιανός, Β., 2010. Εισαγωγή στο δίκαιο της ΕΕ. Αθήνα: Νομική Βιβλιοθήκη.
  • Στεφάνου, Κ. & Καταπόδης, Γ. (επ.) 2008. Οι Ευρωπαϊκές Συνθήκες μετά την αναθεώρηση της Λισσαβώνας. Αθήνα-Κομοτηνή: εκδόσεις Αντ. Σάκκουλα.
  • Στεφάνου, Κ., 2002. Ευρωπαϊκή Ολοκλήρωση, τόμος Α. Αθήνα-Κομοτηνή: εκδόσεις Αντ. Σάκκουλα.
  • Http://
  1. English
    • Craig, P. and de Burca, G. 2014. EU Law. Texts, Cases and Materials. Oxford: OxfordUniversity Press.