7th Edition

The European Union
Politics and Policies

ISBN 9781138340329
Published July 31, 2020 by Routledge
344 Pages 40 B/W Illustrations

USD $42.95

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Book Description

Thoroughly revised, the seventh edition of this accessible and highly respected text provides a rigorous yet digestible introduction to the European Union. Additionally, it authoritatively explains developments that continue to bring challenges to this powerful institution in times of great political change.

Key features:

  • Clearly covers the history, governing institutions, and policies of the EU;
  • Fully updated with new tables, figures, and photographs;
  • In-text features such as Chapter Overviews, Questions to Consider, and Further Reading encourage deeper research and debate;
  • Sustained discussion of transformative and historical change in the upheaval of Brexit and its ramifications, and the future relationship of the UK with the EU;
  • Through reflection on destabilizing issues such as immigration and the years of refugee crisis in Europe, the continued crisis in the eurozone, tensions with Poland and Hungary, Euroskepticism, Russia, and the rise of populism;
  • Increased coverage throughout of women or minorities within the EU.

Jonathan Olsen presents the EU as one of the world's economic and political superpowers, which has brought far-reaching changes to the lives of Europeans and has helped its member states to take a newly assertive role on the global stage.

Essential reading for students of European and EU politics, this book offers an up-to-the-minute look at both the opportunities and existential threats facing the EU.

Table of Contents


Part I: History

1. What Is the European Union?

2. Origins: The Road to Paris and Rome

3. Stagnation and Renewal: The Single European Act and Maastricht

4. Unity and Upheaval: The Eurozone, the Treaty of Lisbon, and Crises in the EU

Part II: Institutions

5. The European Commission

6. The Council of Ministers and the European Council

7. The European Parliament

8. The European Court of Justice

9. The European Central Bank and other EU Bodies and Agencies

10. Representing Public Opinion in the EU

Part III: Policies

11. Public Policy and the Budget of the EU

12. The Single Market, Monetary Union, and Regional Development Policy

13. Agricultural and Environmental Policy

14. Social Policy, Justice and Home Affairs, and other Policies

15. Security and Global Power

16. The EU and the World


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Jonathan Olsen is Professor and Chair of the Department of History and Political Science at Texas Woman's University, US.


"Two decades ago, when I began teaching an EU course, I assigned an early edition of this textbook. I then switched several times to other books, looking for the right balance of attention to the nuts and bolts of EU institutions and policies and an exploration of theoretical and substantive debates about integration. I love what this revised edition offers and am thrilled to adopt it again. Olsen emphasizes change – what drives it and why it matters – without sacrificing the original strengths of this text: accessibility and comprehensiveness." – Jennifer A. Yoder, Colby College, USA

"Jonathan Olsen’s book is an exceptional combination of updated erudite knowledge about the European Union based on decades of original research, outstanding simple story telling ability of the complex supranational multilevel governance system, and theoretical richness. It is an indispensable intelligent introduction to one of the most innovative contemporary transnational integration projects of the world." – José M. Magone, Berlin School of Economics and Law, Germany

"Already a classic among introductory EU textbooks, this updated edition of The European Union: Politics and Policies covers a complex array of treaty revisions, institutional changes, new actors, crisis-management processes, and pro-active policy initiatives that have driven EU politics over the last ten years. Olsen packs a formidable amount of information into every chapter, using lucid prose, recrafted Boxes and everyday comparisons likely to push even US students beyond their national comfort zones." – Joyce Mushaben, University of Missouri-St. Louis, USA

"Jonathan Olsen provides a highly readable account, combining historical narrative, political theory, and institutional analysis of the development and current state of the European Union. This is a book that is accessible to students and to the general reader and provides a valuable reference tool and review for the specialists and scholars in European history and politics." – Laura Gellott, University of Wisconsin-Parkside, USA

"From environmental and social policies to trade and security politics, Olsen’s The European Union demonstrates that the EU is a major force influencing the everyday lives of Europeans and people around the globe." – Stacy D. VanDeveer, University of Massachusetts Boston, USA