Welcome to the website of The Penguin Companion to European Union

Since 1995, the Penguin Companion to European Union has established itself as a key reference-point in the literature of contemporary European politics.

Through a series of thematic A to Z entries, the Penguin Companion explains the ideas, institutions, personalities and policies that have shaped politics at European level since the second world war. Its entries provide clear, definitive and accessible accounts of the history, institutions and decision-making processes of the European Union and other international organisations, as well as of the national and international contexts in which they have developed.

In this new edition, Anthony Teasdale has undertaken a ‘stem to stern’ update of all entries and added a series of new ones on key developments over the last decade – including the drafting and aborted ratification of the European Constitution, the new power balance defined by the Lisbon Treaty, and the politics and economics of the eurozone debt crisis.

How to use this website

The Penguin Companion consists of a series of over 350 alphabetical entries – from ‘Abatement’ to ‘Zurich speech’. To access these, readers need to buy the book. However, on this website, you will find a range of extra material that could not be included in the book for reasons of space or may otherwise interest readers. Among the material currently available are:

=  further details about the book and a complete listing of all entries;

=  the texts of almost 100 additional entries, not included in the published version of the book, accessible on the right-hand side of this homepage;

=  a series of new charts and tables, accessible in drop-down boxes at the top of this homepage;

=  a chronology of European integration since 1945;

=  a selection of key European documents referred to in the text of the book;

=  other recent writing by Anthony Teasdale on European institutional issues.

You can also leave any comments on the book or on this website.

More about the book

The fourth edition of The Penguin Companion to European Union, by Anthony Teasdale and Timothy Bainbridge, was published by Penguin Books on 27 September 2012.

880 pages. £25.00. ISBN: 970-0-141-02118-8.

‘As eloquent as it is comprehensive, this is the must-have guide for anyone who wants to understand the European Union. There has always been plenty of heat in the European debate. This book provides the light.’ Philip Stephens, author of Politics and the Pound.

In the Preface to the book, Anthony Teasdale writes:

‘Nobody can or will wish to explore every aspect of what has been the expanding universe of EU politics over the last half century, but many people do genuinely want to know more about its history, institutions, policies and personalities. In over 350 interlocking entries, this book attempts to promote such an understanding, in an easy and convenient format. It is not just a dictionary, but a ‘companion’, in the sense that it aims to present not only facts, but arguments and analysis too.’

The book is ‘designed to offer the intelligent generalist a single-volume introduction to the complexities of one of the least understood but most powerful political systems in the modern world. It is written for people who are interested in politics but are not experts in the ways and byways of the European Union.’

The Penguin Companion to European Union has so far been published in four editions – in 1995, 1998, 2002 and 2012, with each edition following the negotiation of major treaty changes in the European Union: the 1992 Maastricht Treaty, the 1997 Amsterdam Treaty, the 2001 Nice Treaty, and most recently, the 2007 Lisbon Treaty, which entered force in December 2009.

Cover of the first edition of The Penguin Companion to European Union, published in September 1995:



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