The European Union: Politics and Policies

The European Union: Politics and Policies

The European Union: Politics and Policies

The European Union: Politics and Policies


The emergence of the European Union has become one of the defining events of the late twentieth century, changing the way Europeans relate to each other and the way the rest of the world relates to Europe. Already an economic superpower, the EU is now building the foundations of political union among its fifteen member states. This new text provides a valuable introduction to the institutions and policies of the EU. Clear and succinct, The European Union: Politics and Policies is the first text of its kind written specifically for U. S. students and the first to take account of the 1995 enlargement. Combining description and analysis, the author provides an accessible guide to a phenomenon that is complex and ever changing and that has growing significance for Europeans and Americans alike.


The sovereign nations of the past can no longer solve the problems of the present.

I am certain that the passing seasons will lead us inevitably towards greater unity; and if we fail to organize it for ourselves, democratically, it will be thrust upon us by blind force.

Jean Monnet, Memoirs

The emergence of the European Union has been one of the defining events of the twentieth century. It has changed the political, economic, and social landscapes of Western Europe, changed the balance of power in the world by helping Europeans reassert themselves on the world stage, and helped to bring the longest uninterrupted spell of peace in European recorded history.

Until the beginning of the twentieth century, Europe was a continent of competing powers that repeatedly fought with each other on their own soil and took their mutual hostilities to other continents in their competition to build colonial empires. The tragic costs of nationalism were finally confirmed by two world wars, fought largely on European soil and leaving the European powers devastated and drained. If Europeans had not learned of the barbarism and futility of war in the trenches of northern France and Belgium in 1914-1918, the horrors of the period 1939-1945 finally brought home the need to cooperate and to build the kind of society that would eliminate the seeds of conflict.

The idea of European unity is not new. Many have wanted to unify Europe, sometimes in the interests of building peace and prosperity but sometimes for narrower reasons. The first serious thoughts about a peaceful and voluntary union came after World War I, but the concept really matured following World War II. The idea cannot be credited to any one person, but among the first specific suggestions for cooperation was Winston Churchill's proposal in 1946 for a United States of Europe, which led in 1949 to the creation of the Council of Europe. The United States made its most notable contribution to the new atmosphere of cooperation with the . . .

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