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The New EU-System

The study of the EU system is subject of a high level of fascination, but might also lead to deep frustration. There is some kind of academic joy to observe a new polity in the making. There is however also a high degree of uncertainty. We face serious challenges to observe, explain and evaluate this sui generis set-up. There still is no agreement in literature in the fields of law and political science on the nature and major features of the European Union (EU). It is obviously more than an ‘ordinary’ international organisation, but it is also not a conventional nation state. Different forms of ‘governance’ apply in the EU which are extremely hard to capture. Despite many political and academic controversies surrounding the EU and its institutional architecture one critical insight remains commonplace: This strange construction is increasingly relevant for European governments and Union citizens alike as well as for the partners in the international system.

This teaching companion’s principle aim is to provide a general overview of the ‘milestones’ of European integration as well as to analyse and assess the functioning of the EU institutions. It tries to deal with developments of the new EU System after the Lisbon Treaty on the European Union (TEU) and Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) came into force in 2009, but also with EU institutions’ reactions to the economic, financial and sovereign debt crisis since 2008 and the institutional effects after the EP election in 2014. To the fascinating and at the same time frustrating dimension belongs the dynamics of the EU construction: The EU system is a ‚moving target‘. Thus we need to carefully observe the developments and the evolution of the EU policy.

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