Links Awards Crisis after crisis has beset the European Union in recent years—Greek sovereign debt, Russian annexation of Crimea, unprecedented levels of migration, and the turmoil created by Brexit. An organization originally designed to regulate and enforce rules about fishing rights, wheat quotas, and product standards has found itself on the global stage forced to grapple with problems of identity, sovereignty, and solidarity without a script or prompt. From Paris to Berlin, London to Athens, European leaders have had to improvise on issues that the Union was never set up to handle and which threaten to engulf this unique political entity. And they have had to do so in full view of an increasingly disenchanted and dissonant public audience.
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Van Middelaar is a more thoughtful guide than most to these [EU] institutions and events, in part because he brings the eye of a political theorist to his years working for the European Council president.
Van Middelaar He convincingly shows that the EU has been surprisingly successful at managing crises — although, in keeping with the conventional wisdom in Brussels, he suggests some moderate reforms designed to bolster its power and legitimacy.
He writes succinctly and elegantly, moving seamlessly between Machiavelli and the nitty-gritty of daily EU politics Van Middelaar writes in a literary style which is immensely pleasurable to read and lards the texts with insights from classical philosophers and strategists which further enhance the pleasure.
It should be widely read by EU specialists and used as a core text for EU studies in advanced graduate seminars. This perspicuous, arresting, and insightful book on Europe is a must-read for every practitioner, student and scholar interested in the Union.
A unique blend of behind-the-scenes knowledge, compelling ideas and powerful political judgement. History is back, not as a script, Luuk van Middelaar shows, but as a living entity, and the choice is ours: do we want to play or be played? This book is a truly brilliant guide on all. It avoids all the fatuous lazy generalizations which so bedevil much UK debate, and points to the reforms that will be needed if the EU is to surmount the most formidable set of challenges it has faced since it was formed.
Even as an eye witness to many of these events, I found reading his book rewarding as his observations often provide new insights and valuable distillations of complicated issues. The book combines the inside knowledge of a participant in the theatre of European politics with the critical distance of the political theorist. It is neither a partisan defence of the European Union nor a pessimistic prophecy of doom, but a cool analysis of the role of European institutional structures and of key personalities.
An organization originally designed to regulate and enforce rules about fishing rights, wheat quotas and product standards has found itself on the global stage forced to grapple with problems of identity, sovereignty and solidarity without a script or prompt.
From Paris to Berlin, London to Athens, European leaders have had to improvise on issues that the Union was never set up to handle and which threaten to engulf this unique political entity.
And they have had to do so in full view of an increasingly disenchanted and dissonant public audience. Forced into action by a tidal wave of emergencies, Van Middelaar shows how Europe has had to reinvent itself by casting off its legal straitjacket and confronting hard issues of power, territorial borders and public authority. Alarums and Excursions showcases the fascinating relationship between the Union and the European heads of government, and the stresses it must withstand in dealing with real world events.
For anyone seeking to understand the inner power play and constitutional dynamics of this controversial, but no less remarkable, political institution, this book provides compelling reading.
Improvising: the euro crisis 2. Negotiating: the Ukraine crisis 3. Setting boundaries: the refugee crisis 4.
Alarums and Excursions