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The European Union

How does it work?

Sixth Edition

Edited by Daniel Kenealy, Amelia Hadfield, Richard Corbett, and John Peterson

01 April 2022

ISBN: 9780198862246

352 pages

In Stock

New European Union Series

Price: £29.99

The most accessible, concise introduction to the European Union.


As the most concise, accessible guide to the EU, The European Union: How does it work? is an ideal introduction for those coming to the subject for the first time. A team of expert scholars cut through the complexity to explain how the EU works, both in theory and in practice, helping students gain the knowledge they need to succeed.

  • A perfect introduction to the EU for those with little or no prior knowledge of the subject: concise and readable, with coverage of the key actors, policies, and developments in the EU
  • An expert line-up combines leading scholars and practitioners with first-hand experience of the EU's institutions
  • 'How it really works' boxes help students connect theory with clear explanations illustrated by real-world examples
  • 'Key concepts and terms' boxes, discussion questions and further reading features further support students in broadening their knowledge of the EU
  • A range of boxes throughout the text explore specific cases that highlight how the EU works, what it does, or how it has evolved
  • Also available as an e-book with functionality, navigation features, and links that offer extra learning support

New to this edition

  • Chapter 1 opens with a new discussion of the relationship between the EU's member states, its institutions, and its citizens, providing a framework for approaching the subject
  • Chapter 4 on EU Member States has been significantly revised to examine the roles and motivations of member states in EU integration
  • Chapter 7 on the Internal Policies of the EU incorporates new coverage of the single market, Economic and Monetary Union, and migration
  • A new Chapter 10 discusses future challenges facing the EU, including its relationship with the UK post-Brexit, post-Covid challenges, as well as foreign policy and climate change challenges
  • The chapters on policy-making and internal policies have been closely integrated, allowing for a more in-depth exploration of the EU's decision-making process, the different types of EU law, and the EU's budget

About the Author(s)

Edited by Daniel Kenealy, Lecturer and Director of Teaching Quality, University of Edinburgh, Amelia Hadfield, Professor of European and International Relations, Head of the Department of Politics and Co-Director of the Centre for Britain and Europe at the University of Surrey, Richard Corbett, former Member of the European Parliament, former advisor on institutional issues to the President of the European Council, and John Peterson, former Professor of International Politics, University of Edinburgh

Daniel Kenealy is a Lecturer in Public Policy at the University of Edinburgh

Amelia Hadfield is Professor of European and International Relations, Head of the Department of Politics and Co-Director of the Centre for Britain and Europe at the University of Surrey

Richard Corbett is a former Member of the European Parliament (1996-2009, 2014-2020) and a former advisor to the President of the European Council (2010-2014)

John Peterson was formerly a Professor of International Politics at the University of Edinburgh

Table of Contents

    Part I: Background
    1:Introduction, Daniel Kenealy, Amelia Hadfield, and Richard Corbett
    2:How did we get here?, Desmond Dinan
    Part II: The EU: How does it work?
    3:The EU's Institutions, Richard Corbett, Daniel Kenealy, and Amelia Hadfield
    4:EU Member States, Ramona Coman
    5:Policy-making in the EU, Daniel Kenealy
    6:Democracy in the EU, Richard Corbett
    Part III: The EU: What does it do?
    7:The EU's Internal Policies, Dionyssis G. Dimitrakopoulos
    8:The EU as a Global Actor, Niklas Helwig
    9:EU Enlargement and Wider Europe, Ulrich Sedelmeier
    Part IV: The EU: Where is it going?
    10:Future Challenges, Amelia Hadfield, Daniel Kenealy, and Richard Corbett
    11:Conclusion, Amelia Hadfield, Daniel Kenealy, and Richard Corbett


"This lucid and balanced text, filled to the brim with learning tools and practitioner insights, gives you a deep dive into how the EU actually works and what we might make of it." - Dr Uta Staiger, Associate Professor of European Studies, Executive Director of the UCL European Institute, and Pro-Vice-Provost (Europe)

"The European Union: How does it work? is a definitive how, what and why of the European Union. It provides a comprehensive understanding for those new to the study of the EU. Yet it also manages to combine its breadth and depth with sophisticated insight for those wanting to expand the boundaries of their knowledge of the EUs current and future challenges." - Professor Richard G. Whitman, Professor of Politics and International Relations, University of Kent

"This superb introductory text combines conceptual sophistication with a detailed exposition of EU institutions and policy-making, and is particularly good in capturing the domestic political instability and multiple external challenges that make up the context for European integration in the 21st century." - Professor Christopher Bickerton, University of Cambridge

"This textbook is up-to-date with recent theoretical and conceptual discussions in the field, and does illustrate complex arrangements in an accessible way to students." - Richard Kotter, Northumbria University at Newcastle upon Tyne

Additional Resources

Digital formats and resources
The sixth edition is available for students and institutions to purchase in a variety of formats.

The e-book offers a mobile experience and convenient access, along with functionality tools, navigation features, and links that offer extra learning support: www.oxfordtextbooks.co.uk/ebooks

In addition to supportive learning features within the book, the text is accompanied by online resources designed to help students to take their learning further.

For students:
- Test your understanding and receive instant feedback with a range of multiple-choice questions
- Revise key terms and test your knowledge of terminology from the book with our digital flashcard glossary

For registered adopters of the textbook:
- Guide class debate with suggested seminar questions and activities
- Adapt PowerPoint slides as a basis for lecture presentations, or use as handouts in class

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