The European Union: Peace, conflict and human rights
2 - 27 July 2014
Enrolment is now open for the summer school at Maastricht University's Center for European Studies. One of the courses offered from 2 - 27 July 2014 is entitled: The European Union: Peace, Conflict and Human Rights. The course is an opportunity to better understand how human rights are defended in the EU, following entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty. Special attention will be given to the Fundamental Rights Agency, the accession to the European Convention on Human Rights and the external policies regarding human rights. Students are also encouraged to take educational study trips to learn more about European Union institutions.
The European Union is the world’s largest experiment in supranational governance. In recent years, the EU has undergone substantial evolution in its foreign relations institutions as well as its human rights mechanisms. This evolution was evident in its enlargement process to admit newly-independent states into the union. In addition, the EU began to emphasize fundamental rights for its citizens in a binding legal instrument (the Charter of Fundamental Rights) enumerating rights that surpass the civil and political rights enshrined in the flagship document of the Council of Europe, the European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.
This course will first examine the politics of EU foreign relations. From the Treaty of Maastricht to the Lisbon Treaty, the EU path has taken dramatic changes to adapt to the needs of its citizens and to the demands of the global community. Today, the newly-formed European External Action Service leads the diplomatic wing of the EU. Foreign policy has been given a more prominent role in the form of a new office for a High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy for the European Union.
The second focus of the course is the politics of human rights in the EU. The Lisbon Treaty emphasizes human rights and democracy as guiding principles of EU policies. The advent of the Agency for Fundamental Rights and the accession of the EU, as an institution and supranational body, to the European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms will further define the rights protected and enjoyed by citizens of all EU Member States.
One other important element will be the study trip to Brussels. This trip will involve visiting one of the important agencies of the EU and getting a first-hand look at how policy is developed in Brussels.
Students will learn about historical and current politics of the EU by preparing reading materials outside of class and engaging in class activities that will include:
• group presentations
• debates, and
• interactive class discussions and dialogue
Students will also increase their knowledge of EU policy by writing a short policy paper. Preparing a moot court oral argument will assist students in understanding how human rights are protected in Europe.