These essays go beyond conventional studies of the institutions and parties of Europe to address Europe's democractic future more widely.
While the book does offer an analysis of the democratic institutions of European countries, identifying common features and differences, as the editors put it, "institutions cannot function alone, like machines to produce concensus". So the book focuses on the fundamentals of European democratic culture. The authors argue that European social life and scientific learning have been indispensable components in the growth of the shared values that democracy pursues. They also analyse the dynamic tension brought to the life of democractic institutions by law, the desire for freedom, and critical public debate.
With Europe engaged in perpetual self-examination, and rapid change, this book provides insights into its democractic past and prognosticates for its democratic future.