344 Pages 15 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    344 Pages 15 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    The European Union is facing a profound crisis and is confronted with multiple challenges. Over the last two decades, it has experienced a series of dramatic changes to its powers, its institutional design, its constitutional framework and its borders. The current political, economic and financial crisis puts the EU’s legitimacy further under pressure and creates the impression of a turning point.

    This book provides a concise analysis of the EU and its dynamics by paying particular attention to its day-to-day operation. It aims to help students and scholars understand its evolution, its institutions, its decision-making and the interactions between the EU and various actors. Avoiding abstract theorizing, the authors propose an easy to read analysis of how the Union works while recognizing the complexity of the situation. Throughout the book, the key issues of European integration are addressed: democratic deficit, politicization, the role of member states, institutional crisis and citizen involvement.

    This edition has been fully updated to include:

    • Brexit, the migration crisis as well as the consequences of the 2014 EP elections for all the EU institutions;
    • An in-depth analysis of the 2014 EU elections;
    • More empirical data across the board;
    • New developments in EU decision-making such as the trialogues, and differentiated integration;
    • More in-depth discussion of the role of interest groups in EU policy-making.

    This text is of key interest to students, scholars and readers interested in European Union politics and studies.


    1. A Political System Forged by History

    2. The Main Theoretical Approaches in EU Studies

    3. Executive Power

    4. The Legislative Power

    5. Organs of Control

    6. Other Organs Involved in EU Policy-Making

    7. Decision-Making in the European Union

    8. EU Decision-Making Models

    9. The EU Decision-Making Process from a Public Policy Network Perspective



    Olivier Costa is CNRS Research Professor at the Institute of Political Studies of Bordeaux, France. He is also Director of European Political and Governance Studies at the College of Europe in Bruges, Belgium, and co-director of the Jean Monnet European Centre of Excellence of Aquitain in Bordeaux, France. He is associate-editor of the Journal of European Integration, and member of the editorial board the Journal of Legislative Studies and the Italian Political Science Review.

    Nathalie Brack is Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science and at the Institute for European Studies of the Université libre de Bruxelles (Cevipol), Belgium. She is also Visiting Professor at the College of Europe in Bruges. Her research has been published in JCMS, the Journal of European Integration and the International Political Science Review among others.

    "… Analytically sharp, and backed up by scientific literature, it is highly recommended to readers who want a thorough understanding of how the EU responds to the challenges it faces." - Renaud Dehousse, President, European University Institute, Italy.

    "Olivier Costa and Nathalie Brack’s remarkable book may be the very best place to look for those who need to understand the European Union in all of its complexity..." - George Ross, Université de Montréal, Canada.

    "… The coverage of theories, institutions and policy-making in one volume makes this a highly effective textbook." - Richard Whitaker, Leicester University, UK.