European Law-Making and Enforcement – Procedural Aspects and Participation - NOTE: THE COURSE IS CANCELLED IN THE SPRING SEMESTER 2018

Course content

The objective of the course is to provide students with a deeper understanding of the European governance system, the institutional design, the division of competences, law-making procedures and the related ’democratic design’ in general, and the role of participation of civil society therein in particular. It further gives the students the opportunity to explore a selection of participatory mechanisms in the legislative, administrative and judicial procedures by analysing the related legal frameworks, case law and the functioning in practice.

The course intends to deepen the students’ understanding of the functioning of the EU and to complement other Master courses on EU law which focus on fundamental freedoms or specialised fields of EU law.

The subject is highly topical and of particular interest as the EU, at the moment, faces serious legitimacy challenges due to a perceived democratic deficit as in particular evidenced by the ’Brexit’.

Unlike the course on EU Constitutional Law which focuses on the institutional setting of the EU and its relation towards the Member States and Member States’ law, based on principles such as supremacy, direct effect etc. and thus takes more of a top-down perspective, this course focuses on the participation of citizens as the ’fourth pillar’ of the EU governance system as outlined in Art. 11 TEU. It analyses (selected mechanisms of) participation and approaches towards direct democracy as (potential) means to connect supra-national (and also technically complex) decision-making back to society, and thus takes more of a bottom-up approach. It thereby complements the course on EU Constitutional Law.

The course covers:

-The institutional design and balance of competences between Council, Parliament and Commission and

-EU law-making procedures

-Introduction into democratic theory and

-Introduction into the various approaches towards democratic governance in Europe

-With a special regard to the deliberative approach originally developed by J. Habermas

-Chances and risks of participation of civil society (organisations) in descion-making and enforcement of the law

-Framing of 'civil society'

-Analysis of the different legal mechanisms in Europe to enable participation in desicion- making and enforcement by civil society (organisations) in legislative, administrative and judicial processes, such as:

  • the European Citizens' Initiative, Art. 11 (4) TEU, Art. 24 TFEU, Reg. (EU) No. 211/201
  • the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC), Art. 300 - 307 TFEU
  • Comitology, Art. 290, 291 TFEU, Reg. (EU) No. 182/2011
  • Consultations, Communication on Consultation Standards, COM(2002) 704 final
  • Parliamentary hearings and workshops, Parliament’s Rules of Procedure
  • Petitions, Art. 20, 227 TFEU, Parliament’s Rules of Procedure
  • the European Ombudsman, Art. 20, 228 TFEU, European Parliament Decision 94/262/ECSC, EC, Euratom
  • Access to information and documents, Art. 15 TFEU, Reg. (EC) No. 1049/2001, Directive 2003/98 EC, Transparency Register etc.
  • Legal standing in the Court of Justice, Art. 263 TFEU

And as concretised by the case law of the Court of Justice.

Learning outcome

Learning objectives:


  • Understand the governance system of the EU
  • Describe law-making procedures
  • Explain the role of citizens and civil society organisations therein
  • Describe the various instruments of participation and enforcement



  • Identify and use relevant provisions of EU law and decisions of the Court of Justice
  • Extract legal principles from decisions of the Court of Justice
  • Apply the legal principles and interpretation methods used by the Court of Justice (e.g. concerning environmental organisations) to comparable situations
  • Involve results from political theory and sociology
  • (Carry out group work and discuss specific means of participation)
  • (Present a specific instrument or case study in class)



  • Put participatory (and enforcement) rights and instruments into perspective with the European governance system'
  • Critically assess, formulate and discuss the democratic credentials of the various participation rights of citizens and civil society (organisations - Independently carry out own research project
  • Formulate in English
  • (Give feed-back on colleagues’ presentations)


- Preparatory reading of selected articles
- Study and interpretation of legal material such as Treaty provisions, Regulations, Directives, Commission Communications and Decisions
- Study and analysis of relevant ECJ case law
- Case studies
- Group work
- Student presentations of participatory instruments
- ’Mind map’ drawing, in order to systematise the various instruments discussed within the EU governance system

Language skills in English; - Legal research skills, - (basic) knowledge of EU law

Continuous feedback during the course of the semester
Peer feedback (Students give each other feedback)
Type of assessment
Written examination
Individual written assignment
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship

Single subject courses (day)

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Seminar
  • 56
  • Preparation
  • 356,5
  • English
  • 412,5