European Principles and Values

ECTS Value: 5 ECTS


Overall Objectives and Outcomes

In 2012, the EU was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize as an acknowledgement for its role in helping to transform most of Europe from a continent of war to a continent of peace and for contributing towards the advancement of reconciliation, democracy and human rights in Europe for over six decades. 

This module will introduce learners to the principles and values which unite us as Europeans. It will give an in-depth look at each fundamental value of the EU, namely the respect for human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights, including the rights of persons belonging to minority groups. It will demonstrate how these fundamental principles and values of the EU are embedded in EU treaties and will make reference to Article 49 of the Treaty on the European Union which emphasizes that only countries which respect these values and are committed to promoting them can apply for EU membership. Reference will also be made to the Treaty of Lisbon which defines these fundamental values. 

This module will discuss the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights as a strong statement of EU citizens’ rights. It will demonstrate how the main goal of the EU is to defend these values in order to promote peace and the wellbeing of its citizens and will describe the role of the European Parliament in ensuring that these principles and values are realised in EU legislation.

By the end of this programme, participants should be able to:


a. Manage own learning by conducting further research to enhance his/her understanding of the founding principles of the EU;
b. Establish the importance of European principles and values in promoting peace and ensuring the wellbeing of citizens;
c. Produce case studies which demonstrate how European principles and values are applied in practice. 


a. Identification of European values as defined in the Treaty of Lisbon;
b. Recognition of the role of the European Parliament in ensuring that these principles and values are realised in EU legislation;
c. Awareness of how these principles and values are an integral part of the European way of life.


a. Outline important events which demonstrate that the European story is one of peace, democracy, freedom and solidarity;
b. Use the information gathered from various sources to discuss how the EU promotes social equality;
c. Demonstrate how the EU is committed to promoting democracy and how it prohibits accession to countries which do not respect European principles and values.

Mode of Delivery

This module adopts a blended approach to teaching and learning. Information related to the structure and delivery of the module may be accessed through the IfE Portal. For further details, kindly refer to the Teaching, Learning and Assessment Policy and Procedures found on the Institute for Education’s website.

Assessment Methods

This programme adopts continuous and summative methods of assessment including assignments, online tasks, reflective journals, projects and video presentations. For further details, kindly refer to the Teaching, Learning and Assessment Policy and Procedures.

Suggested Readings

Core Reading List
a. Williams, A. (2010) The Ethos of Europe: Values, Law and Justice in the EU. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
b. Jakab, A. and Kochenov, D. (2017) The Enforcement of EU Law and Values: Ensuring Member States’ Compliance. Oxford, United Kingdom: Oxford University Press.
c. Piattoni, S. (2015) The European Union: Democratic Principles and Institutional Architectures in Times of Crisis. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. 


Supplementary Reading List
a. Eur-Lex (n.d.) Treaty of Lisbon: Amending the Treaty on European Union and the Treaty Establishing the European Community. Retrieved from
c. European Parliament (2018) Fact Sheets on the European Union: Human Rights. Retrieved from


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