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Understanding the European Union: a concise introduction

Understanding the European Union: a concise introduction

McCormick, John, 1954- author

The 7th edition of this best-selling textbook provides a broad-ranging but concise introduction to the EU, covering all major aspects of the European project. This edition takes full account of the current challenges faced by the EU, including the ongoing difficulties in the Eurozone and the rise of euroscepticism, which culminated spectacularly in Britain's decision to leave the Union in 2016. Fully updated throughout, McCormick continues to clearly and succinctly cover the history and institutions of the EU; the underlying principles of European integration; the impact of the EU on its member states and citizens; and the dynamics and effects of EU policies. Going beyond simplifying and summarising key points, McCormick also covers the nuances of principles, politics and policies that are often lost in concise introductory texts. While this text would naturally suit Political Science and International Relations students, McCormick realises that the EU is both a global political actor and the wealthiest marketplace in the world, which means the EU must be studied from multiple disciplinary persepctives. This textbook is packed with pedagogical features and written with minimal jargon and in interdisciplinary terms so as to be accessible for those with no prior understanding of the EU, enabling both Politics and International Relations students and students of other disciplines to have a refined understanding on the EU

Paperback, Hardback, Book. English.
7th edition.
All formats and editions (2)
Published London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2017

Available at All Saints.

  • All Saints – Four available in 337.142/MAC

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Statement of responsibility: John McCormick
ISBN: 1137606258, 1137607750, 9781137606259, 9781137607751
Series: The European Union series
Subject: European Union.; Politics & government.; European Union; Political science.
Series Title: European Union series (Palgrave Macmillan (Firm))


  1. What is the European Union?
  2. The idea of Europe
  3. The evolution of the EU
  4. The European institutions
  5. The EU and its citizens
  6. The EU policy process
  7. Economic policy
  8. Internal policies
  9. External policies
  10. Conclusions.

Author note

John McCormick is Professor and Chair of the Department of Political Science at the Indianapolis campus of Indiana University, USA.

Description for teachers

This best-selling textbook provides a concise, though broad-ranging, introduction to the EU, covering all the major aspects of European integration.


Review of earlier edition:

"[A] very useful text...Among hundreds...about the phenomenon of European integration, this book stands out as one that really tackles the complexity of the economic, political and legal systems of the EU succinctly." - Giedrius Surplys, Journal of European Affairs