The History of Law and Policy in European Integration

Teaching Session

Professor Stefan Vogenauer MJur (Oxford), MPI for European Legal History 

Convenors: Professor Stefan Vogenauer and Dr Jan-Henrik Meyer

This teaching session focuses on the early relationship between law and policy in the process of European integration. Today, European law is everywhere, so many research projects of Max Planck Law members have a European dimension. However, it was not always thus. In the first decades of European integration, EU law largely remained invisible. People were more interested in the various policies of the different European Communities. Yet, from its beginnings, European integration required legal solutions to very concrete policy issues. This led to the creation of a large body of policy-relevant law – ranging from agriculture and competition to the environment and social policy.

The relationship between law and policy goes both ways. On the one hand, we will explore how European law shaped European policy-making. To what extent did legal actors – lawyers within the institutions and courts – enable or obstruct the development of various policies and the legal instruments chosen? What legal norms, ideas and doctrines did they employ in doing so? On the other hand, we will investigate how European policy shaped European law. How is this influence reflected in legislation and judicial decisions? 

The objective of the Max Planck Law teaching session is to enhance participants’ understanding of what ‘integration through law’ means with a view to European policies. By bringing together case studies from a range of policy areas, we will be able to (1) flag up the varying roles of different actors involved, (2) compare the relations between policy and law across policy areas old and new, and (3) assess change over time, including potential path dependencies. We will thus acquire a better understanding of why and how European policy, which increasingly influences citizens’ lives, has come to address problems the way it does.

The first day of the teaching session will be dedicated to introducing the history of EU law, regarding both the fields of study and the methodological approaches used. In a first part, members of the Frankfurt Institute from the Research Field ‘Legal History of the European Union’ will discuss the history of core areas of European policy and law – ranging from competition to the environment. A second part will be devoted to methods of studying the history of EU law – ranging from digital humanities to conceptual history. In the evening, participants from all Max Planck Law institutes with an EU-themed research project are invited to present their own work-in-progress and will have the opportunity to receive feedback on the historical aspects. The second and third days will be held together with the 4th Annual Conference of the Research Field on ‘Law and Policy in European Integration (1960s-1990s)’, with speakers from 17 different countries. Participants will be able to learn more about the interaction between law and policy in fields as diverse as citizenship, competition, consumer protection, environmental protection, social policy, tourism and transport.

We will be accepting applications for this teaching session from January 2020.

  • 00


  • 00


  • 00


  • 00



08 Jun 2021 - 10 Jun 2021


12:00 am - 4:00 pm
Max Planck Institute for European Legal History


Max Planck Institute for European Legal History
QR Code