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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 takes as a point of departure the specific foreign policy objectives of the European Union, as defined in the Lisbon Treaty, and examines the legal means the Union has at its disposal to fulfill them. It envisages the various actors of EU external relations, and considers the legal principles which govern their (inter)actions. It also analyses the instruments and policies of the EU external actions (e.g. the Common Commercial Policy, the Common Foreign and Security Policy), as well as their legal effects within the EU and Member States’ legal orders.

Course objectives

Objectives of the course
The purpose of the course is to introduce the students to the rich case law of the European Court of Justice in the field of EU external relations.

Learning outcomes
After this course the student is able to:

  • Explain the constitutional foundations of the external action of the European Union;

  • Develop an argument on the basis of the law and case law of the Court of Justice of the European Union on external action;

  • Identify a legal issue of EU external relations law within the broader landscape of the law and legal doctrine of the subject;

  • Identify the law applicable to practical cases of EU external relations law.


The timetable of this course can be found in uSis.

Mode of instruction


  • Number of 3 or 2 hour lectures: (16 hours in total): 6

  • Names of lecturers: t.b.a.

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


  • Number of (2 hour) seminars: 3

  • Names of instructors: Timothy Roes

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

Assessment method

Examination form(s)

  • Open book exam

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), on the condition that this course is included in the compulsory components of the degree program. 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 and Joris Larik, EU External Relations Law, Text, Cases and Materials (Hart Publishing, 2020).

Course information guide:

  • Course information will be made available on Brightspace.


  • Reader will be made available on Brightspace.


Students have to register for courses and exams through uSis.

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: