The European Union faces a crossroads in the twenty-first century. While there is evidence of declining enthusiasm for European integration, the EU plays an increasingly vital role in tackling problems that can no longer be dealt with at member state level. In recent years, the EU has developed a stronger foreign, security and defence policy, and has had to face up to the challenges of tackling organised crime, human trafficking and drug smuggling. In this fully updated new edition, Alasdair Blair examines the economic, political, social and personal factors that have shaped the process of European integration from the end of the Second World War until the Lisbon Treaty in 2009. Written in a clear and jargon-free style, the book explores: * The context of European integration and expansion * The relations between the European Union and its member states * The institutional evolution of the European Union * Methods of decision-making * Key policies of the European Union * The future direction of the European Union Comprehensive and accessible, this book is an essential guide to understanding the relevance of the European Union in the twenty-first century.