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KULeuvenX: Rule of Law and Democracy in Europe

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Critical and interdisciplinary introduction to democracy and the rule of law in the European Union (EU).

8 weeks
2–3 hours per week
Progress at your own speed
Optional upgrade available

There is one session available:

5,755 already enrolled! After a course session ends, it will be archivedOpens in a new tab.
Starts Dec 4

About this course

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Democracy and the rule of law are two of the fundamental values of the EU that are shared among the EU Member States (MS).

As of late, however, they have come under increasing pressure. Not only does the Union face criticism about its own democratic and rule of law shortcomings, but it also appears to struggle to find effective responses when faced with the erosion of these values in several of its MS.

In this course, an interdisciplinary team of experts will discuss what democracy and the rule of law mean in Europe, how these principles are put into practice, and how they can be defended against backsliding.

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research & Innovation programme under Grant Agreement no. 770142.

Course created with support from

Reconciling Europe with its Citizens through Democracy and the Rule of Law (RECONNECT)Leuven Centre for Global Governance StudiesEuropean Union

At a glance

  • Institution: KULeuvenX
  • Subject: Law
  • Level: Introductory
  • Prerequisites:


  • Language: English
  • Video Transcript: English

What you'll learn

Skip What you'll learn
  • Acquire a general understanding of the EU, its fundamental values and its main institutions;
  • Familiarize yourself with the concepts of democracy and the rule of law, what they mean in a national and in an EU context, how they have evolved over time and which challenges and threats they are currently facing;
  • Understand which institutions are responsible to promote, uphold, and put democracy and the rule of law into practice and which tools they have at their disposal to effectively prevent or tackle the erosion of these values;
  • Familiarize yourself with the main challenges for democracy and the rule of law in some of the key EU policy areas, such as trade, migration and public health emergencies (COVID-19).

Week 1

Introduction to the European Union, its evolution, institutions and common values.

Week 2

Introduction to the concept and principles of democracy and the challenges democracy faces today.

Week 3

Introduction to the practices of democracy in the EU and national parliaments of the member states as well as citizen engagement in democratic systems.

Week 4

Introduction to the rule of law as a concept and its integration in the EU legal framework.

Week 5

Introduction to the rule of law practices and the EU’s toolbox to enforce rule of law compliance in the member states.

Week 6

Introduction to different policy areas of the EU and how they are intertwined with the democracy and rule of law debate in the EU.

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