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The Rule of Law in the European Union

A thorough analysis of the current rule of law challenges in the European Union in a "Jean Monnet" labeled course

Course description

This course, “The rule of law in the European Union: challenges, actors and tools,” provides a thorough analysis of the current rule of law challenges in the EU. Based on a case-study approach, this “Jean Monnet” course aims to examine recent evolutions at the EU level, by looking at how the EU seeks to safeguard common norms and values. The course focusses on rule of law approaches in global and European governance, the main tools developed by the EU and a set of concrete cases that allows participants to understand the political and legal issues at stake.

Organised in three parts, the course examines the following questions:

  • How has the rule of law shaped the integration process? What are the essential features of the European rule of law approach? By addressing these questions, the course introduces key concepts and understandings of the rule of law.
  • How does the EU promote the rule of law through its internal and external policies? How effective are its instruments? By addressing these questions, the course scrutinizes new tools designed to safeguard the rule of law, their use and limitations.
  • What are the challenges ahead for safeguarding the rule of law in the EU? By examining a set of concrete cases, the course seeks to tackle the political and legal issues at stake when EU member states seek to limit the power of their judicial institutions and the independence of the judiciary.

Learning Objectives

At the end of this training, participants will have in-depth knowledge about:

  • The role of the rule of law in global and European governance
  • The role of the rule of law in establishing an area of freedom, security and justice
  • The EU’s tools designed to safeguard the rule of law in internal and external policies. When and how can Article 7 be triggered? When and how the Rule of law framework can be triggered?
  • The independence of the judiciary in Europe
  • The EU’s cooperation with the Council of Europe, agencies and international organisations
  • The political and legal implications of the rule of law crises in the EU

Learning Methods and Pedagogical Approach

Designed for professionals, this training is case-study oriented. While embedded in recent academic debates, the training involves interactions with professionals from various relevant EU institutions and international organisations to allow participants to understand the legal, political and institutional rationale of the topic.

Academic engagement

Attendance is mandatory: two unjustified absences may lead to being excluded from the course.

Academic Integrity: Participants are expected to abide by all MEUS academic rules. In particular, any evidence of plagiarism or cheating will be sanctioned by a 0/20 at the final evaluation.

european integrationRamona Coman is Associate Professor in Political Science at the Université libre de Bruxelles (ULB) and President of the the Institute for European Studies since 2019, where she had been Director since 2014.

She has served as Deputy Director of the Centre d’étude de la vie politique (CEVIPOL) and as Vice president of the Department of Political Science of the Faculty of Social and Political Sciences (ULB).

She teaches Decision-making in the EU, Rule of law and mutual trust in global and European governance and Methods, theory and research in Political Science (training designed for PhD Students).

Since 2008, she lectures at the Diplomatic Institute of Romania and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the framework of an agreement between the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Her main research areas include governance in the EU, Eurozone crisis, rule of law and judicial reforms in Central and Eastern Europe, enlargement, Europeanization and resistances to EU integration.

Evaluation Method

The evaluation is based on:


In class participation


Research paper


Round table discussion

This course in numbers

Class time and credits

18 Total hours of lectures
2 Credits (ECTS) awarded

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