After reading John Pinder’s book, “The European Union, A Very Short Introduction,” it provides a brief and concise summary of the history of the European Union. It covers events dealing with politics, the environment, agriculture, policies and the Euro, dating from its beginnings in 1940’s until 2000, when the book was published. Although Pinder appears to be pro EU, he does an exceptional job of overviewing the institutions and policies of the European Union that helps his audience of average citizens comprehend the changes over the past few decades.
This book was a very simplified and basic, but also exceptionally dense. The only downside is he that the book doesn’t cover the last decade of the European Union. It is written mostly in chronological order, covering the most significant events that have occurred in Europe under the guidance of the European Union since 1946. Though it contains many acronyms which make the reading a little difficult to comprehend, it contains information on the abbreviations page to assist. The author does a great job at exploring the ups and downs of the European Union and also explaining the obstacles they face in the future.
Pinder answers the question, “The European Union has come a long way in the half-century since the process of its construction was launched by the Schuman declaration. War has indeed become unthinkable among the member states, which now cover almost the whole of Western Europe and before long will include most of Central and Eastern Europe too. ” (pp. 159) Since this book was written, there have been more memberships which cover almost all of Western Europe and extend into Central and Eastern Europe.
Pinder arranges in detail, the growth of the European Union over time, and recounts its future as the European economy thrives up until the 21st century. His examination of the changes, welfare, debates, programs and also the circulation of the Euro that have expanded the EU are highlighted in his reading. Pinder also reviews the major influence the European Union has had on keeping the peace in hostile territories within its member countries. The book contains many maps and charts to assist with understanding the growth of this economic power.
In the early chapters, and probably the most important, Pinder explains the concept of the EU and also how it was put into motion. “Subsequent chapters consider particular institutions and fields of competence in more detail. ” (pp. 8) Personally, not knowing much about the European Union, this book was very easy to read and also help me comprehend the impact the EU has had on the United States and other countries. Pinder also discusses the problems within the European Union, such as, the Single Europe Act of 1987.
The Council of Ministries used the QMV (Qualified Majority Vote) to regulate and guarantee certain trade related legislations. “Thus the Single Act strengthened both the Community’s powers and its institutions, with influence from a combination of governments’ economic interests, social concerns, the Commission, the Parliament and a variety of federalist forces. ” (pp. 25) At the time, there were only twenty seven countries in the EU, but there were 345 “votes” and to some extent were dependent on population quantities, in which the Council of Ministries only needed 258 votes to pass a bill.
Most non-European citizens that view the European Union as bureaucratic garbage that takes a lot of money to run and causes only damage, would not find this book very appealing. Pinder converses about the independence that each country has to make their own decisions in the quest for their own interests. It may be astonishing to some Western readers that the European Union leadership, according to Pinder, projected that the EU proposed to be more powerful than the United States but opted not to because they assumed the U. S. would defend them if another country were to challenge them.
Pinder stated that this would save the European Union a great deal of financial obligation. The European Union is such a large economic entity, that covering every aspect in a short introductory is almost impossible, but Pinder seemed to accomplish that. His very short introduction explains how the European Union developed into one of the largest political bodies in the world. This is a very interesting book and Pinder’s audience should be anyone pursuing a better understanding of the European Union and the basis upon which it was conceived.
Although this book contains opinionated answers, the reader should start with an open-mind when reading this short introduction. Personally, I would enjoy reading a more current and revised evaluation of the book to see how far the European Union has come in the last decade. If you are interested in reading a book without If you are looking for an introduction without getting into long theoretical discussions. The merit of this book is its simplicity.
It tells the story of the European Union without leaving any of the main topics out. It reads easily. Has a few very useful charts and photographs. Its up to date, year 2001; I could not find another book that would bring the reader up to the launching of the Euro! The only reason it does not get five stars is that it is only a short introductory study and as a consequence it lacks depths, otherwise its a great book! Pinder, John. The European Union: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford ; New York: Oxford University Press, 2001. Print.