The European Union: A Very Short Introduction (4th edition)

ISBN : 9780198808855

Simon Usherwood; John Pinder
208 ページ
111 x 174 mm
Very Short Introductions



  • Thoroughly revised and updated to include coverage of the huge changes that have taken place in the EU since 2013, including a discussion of the migrant crisis and the UK's decision to leave the Union
  • Covers the history of the Union since 1946, looking at the various institutions and what they do
  • Examines the place of the Union on the world stage, in its role as a peace-keeper and in the rise of environmental politics
  • Considers the future of the Union and the challenges and choices that may lie ahead in the 21st century

The European Union (EU) stands out as a fascinatingly unique political organisation. On the one hand, it has shown the potential for developing deep and wide-ranging cooperation between member states, going far beyond that found anywhere else in the world. On the other, it is currently in the throes of a phase of profound uncertainty about its viability and future.

Showing how and why the EU has developed from 1950 to the present day, this Very Short Introduction covers a range of topics, including the Union's early history, the workings of its institutions and what they do, the interplay between 'eurosceptics' and federalists, and the role of the Union beyond Europe in international affairs and as a peace-keeper. 

In this fully updated fourth edition, Pinder and Usherwood cover the migrant crisis and the UK's decision to leave the Union, set in the context of a body that is now involved in most areas of public policy. Discussing how the EU continues to draw in new members, they conclude by considering the future of the Union and the choices and challenges that may lie ahead. 


List of boxes
List of charts
List of illustrations
List of maps
1: What the EU is for
2: How the EU was made
3: How the EU is governed
4: Single market, single currency
5: Agriculture, regions, budget: conflicts over who gets what
6: Social policy, environmental policy
7: 'An area of freedom, security and justice'
8: A great civilian power...and more, or less?
9: The EU and the rest of Europe
10: The EU in the world
11: Much accomplished...but what next?
Further reading


Simon Usherwood, Reader in Politics, University of Surrey, and John Pinder, Formerly Honorary Professor at the College of Europe, and Chairman of the Federal Trust, London, United Kingdom
Simon Usherwood is Reader in Politics at the University of Surrey, where he specialises in the study of euroscepticism, and in UK-EU relations. As well as publishing widely in these areas, he has also been a frequent contributor to public debate, through the media, social media and numerous public speaking events. Since 2016, he has been a Senior Fellow of the 'UK in a Changing Europe' programme.

John Pinder was Honorary Professor at the College of Europe, and Chairman of the Federal Trust, London. He was the author of The Building of the European Union (Third edition, OUP, 1998).

"This slim little volume is quite simply the best place to start for anyone who aspires to understand the European Union." - Professor Anand Menon, Kings College and Director, UK in a Changing Europe