How the EU Really Works

Nathalie Brack, Olivier Costa

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.

  • Contents: Introduction; A political system forged by history; The main theoretical approaches in EU studies; Executive power; The legislative power; The organs of control; The other organs involved in EU policy making; Decision-making in the European Union; EU decision-making models; The EU decision-making process from a public policy network perspective; Conclusion; Annexes; Bibliography; Index.

  • About the Author: Olivier Costa is CNRS Research Professor at the Centre Emile Durkheim, Institute of Political Studies of Bordeaux (France). He is also Director of Political and Administrative Studies at the College of Europe (Bruges, Belgium) and Visiting Professor at the Institute for European Studies of the Université Libre de Bruxelles (Brussels, Belgium). He has been teaching and conducting research on EU institutions and policies for more than 20 years. His research interests include the European Parliament, EU institutional system and decision making, Europeanization and Parliamentary representation at EU and national level. He is member of the editorial committee of the Journal of European Integration and of the Journal of Legislative Studies.

    Nathalie Brack is a Post-doctoral Fellow at Oxford University and at the Université libre de Bruxelles (CEVIPOL). She holds a PhD in political science, which deals with the roles of Eurosceptic Members of the European Parliament. Her research interests include Euroscepticism, the European Parliament, Political representation, Parliamentary and Legislative studies as well as Political opposition.

  • Reviews: ‘In recent years, the EU has doubled its membership and shifted its gears to try to persuade Europeans, who still live in national cocoons, to change their ways of working, educating themselves, doing social policy, managing their economies and confronting acting globalization and rapidly shifting international realities. It has not always been able to perform these huge new tasks successfully and, above all, has not persuaded Europeans to follow. Costa and Brack do a superb job of putting this story at the heart of the book without neglecting the EU’s hugely complicated institutions and processes. Bravo!’ 
    George Ross, Université de Montréal, Canada 

    ‘After multiple reforms and a deep transformation of its environment, the EU political system has become difficult to make sense of. This book offers a clear and easily accessible overview of its operation. Analytically sharp and informed by a thorough awareness of the scientific literature, it is highly recommended to those who want to understand how the EU responds to the challenges it is faced with.’
    Renaud Dehousse, Sciences Po, Paris, France