International and Comparative Law
568: European Union Law
The European Union establishes one of the largest markets in the world, is a major US trading partner, and a site of a number of US firms’ overseas offices. The EU legal order is therefore an established component of the day-to-day business of numerous US firms. The EU legal order is likely to have an even more significant impact on US firms over time, as the current President of the European Commission has recently stated that one of the Commission’s priorities is negotiating a trade agreement with the US to further trade between the EU and the US by abolishing custom duties on each other’s products and adopting transatlantic product standards.
The purpose of this seminar is to enable students to fully understand the legal framework within which firms operate in the European Union. It will start with a study of the institutions and the structure of EU, which shares some features with other international organizations and federal structures, but also is unique in some important respects. The EU’s primary feature is that its Member States have ceded some sovereignty to the EU, and have conferred powers on the Union to act independently. In exercising these powers, the EU can issue acts which have the same force as laws in individual states and that bind Member States’ nationals and foreign firms when they operate within the EU. Classes will then focus on EU regulation of business activities and, in particular, on EU Competition and Company laws.
The seminar is not only intended for students interested in EU Competition law and EU Company law, but also for students interested in exploring US policy debates from a comparative perspective. The seminar also should be valuable for students interested in better understanding globalization and other regional agreements. (De Sanctis)