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Law and Politics in the European Union: Winners and Losers in the European Legal Sphere


Donnerstag, 14:00-16:00 Uhr

The rule of law is one of the central values on which the European Union is based. As its concrete manifestation, the EU’s legal system allows individuals, groups and companies to claim their rights in court against other private entities and public authorities. While this legal system can safeguard democratic values (but it struggles in the face of ‘illiberal democracies’), it also has concrete distributive effects. Individuals, groups and companies with resources to access the legal system are in a better position to pursue their interests than those that do not. EU law is said to favour ‘market-making’ over ‘market-shaping’ measures and to contribute to a gradual liberalisation of European welfare states. Questions we will ask in this seminar are: How do democracy and the rule of law go together? How is a court different from political institutions? Who uses the European legal system and with what consequences? And, can the European rule of law prevent backsliding towards illiberal authoritarianism? We will study central insights of existing research and reach our own conclusions.