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The Union in the World


Admission requirements

Bachelor degree in law (or similar; see the general requirements for the Master European Law) and sufficient knowledge in English. Students are strongly advised to follow an EU law introductory course before enrolling in this course.


This course examines the foundations, objectives and key features of the law of the European Union’s (EU) external relations. Based on an analysis of the relevant EU Treaty provisions and case-law of the Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU), this course explores the interrelationship between the EU and International law by tackling inter alia the principles underlying the vertical (EU/Member States) separation of powers in the field of external relations, the Union’s treaty-making powers and international representation, as well as the effects of conventional and unilateral international norms in the EU’s legal order.

Course objectives

Objectives of the course
This course will allow the students to gain a solid understanding of the importance, scope and progressive constitutionalization of the EU’s external action and the role of the EU as a key actor in a variety of areas of global interest.

Learning outcomes
After this course the student is able to:

  • Develop a solid understanding of the constitutional nature of the law of EU external relations;

  • Understand the evolution of International law and its role in shaping the law of EU external relations,

  • Have a good knowledge and understanding of the EU’s primary and secondary law provisions that govern various aspects of the law of EU external relations;

  • Develop a solid analytical framework through in-depth analysis of the CJEU’s caselaw and the relevant strands of EU legal scholarship;

  • Understand the specificity of the EU as an actor in the context of global governance;

  • Develop a capacity for critical thinking and analysis on key aspects of the law of EU external relations (e.g. treaty-making, treaty-execution, scope of external action, importance of democratic values etc).


Check MyTimetable.

Mode of instruction


  • Number of lectures (2 hours each): 5

  • Names of lecturers: Dr. J.E. Larik

  • Required preparation by students: reading of materials prescribed on Brightspace


  • Number of seminars (2 hours each): 5

  • Names of instructors: Dr. J.E. Larik

  • Required preparation by students: reading of materials prescribed on Brightspace

Assessment method

Examination form(s)

  • A written exam, counting for 80% towards the final grade.

  • A written assignment, counting for 20% towards the final grade.

Students who fail the written exam are entitled to a re-sit examination. Depending on the number of students failing the exam, the re-sit may take the form of a written or oral exam. The 20% grade for the practical assignment will remain valid for the re-sit. If you have not passed the course by the end of the academic year, partial grades for the exam or practical assignment are no longer valid.

Areas to be tested within the exam
The examination syllabus consists of the required reading (literature) for the course, the course information guide and the subjects taught in the lectures, the seminars and all other instructions which are part of the course.

Regulation retake passed exams
In this course it is possible to retake an exam that has been passed (cf. art. and further of the Course and Examination Regulations). Students who have passed the exam may retake the final written assessment (test) of the course if they meet certain requirements. To retake a passed exam, students need to ask the Student Administration Office (OIC) for permission. For more information, go to 'course and exam enrollment' > 'permission for retaking a passed exam' on the student website.

Reading list

Obligatory course materials


  • Ramses Wessel, Joris Larik, EU External Relations Law, Text, Cases and Materials (Hart, 2020).

Course information guide:

  • Course information will be made available on Brightspace.


  • Reader will be made available on Brightspace.


Check the website under “course and exam enrollment” for information on how to register for the course.

Contact information


  • Institute: Public Law

  • Department: European Law

  • Room number secretariat: KOG B1.11

  • Opening hours: 09.00-17.00

  • Telephone number secretary: 071 527 3596

  • Email:


In case of (corona)restrictions imposed by the government, this course description is subject to change.