“The Passage to Europe: How a continent became a Union” by Luuk van Middelaar

luukReview by Laura Ventura

After previous editions in Dutch, Polish, Hungarian and French, Luuk van Middelaar’s book has now been published in English under the title ‘The Passage to Europe: How a continent became a Union’. It is a timely book in the light of the different crisis that Europe is currently facing. Luuk van Middelaar contributes to the discussion on the future of Europe in general and on the construction of a common European political order in particular, in a comprehensive and a detailed manner. This book recounts the main events, crisis and compromises that shaped the European construction. The role of the different entities active at the different levels is also described: a distinction is made between the “outer sphere” of geopolitics (the continent’s nations), the “inner sphere” of the Community (the EU Institutions) and the “intermediate sphere” of member states sitting at the same table of the European Council to try to speak with one voice.

This multifaceted book provides a historical, philosophical and political pictures of the 60 years of the European continent. Luuk van Middelaar covers the themes of the common ‘finalité politique’ emergence, the outcome of external events on the EU’s history and the quest for public legitimacy. Without using any acronyms or European jargon, this book is accessible to European citizens in a wide sense and provides a clear picture of the institutional landscape.