Our Top-12 most popular books of the year 2015


(c) Council of the European Union. Source: https://www.facebook.com/europeancouncilpresident/



Yesterday Donald Tusk, the President of the European Council, has confessed his love for reading books on his facebook page to support the Federation of European Publishers #GetCaughtReading campaign.

His heartfelt statement in favour of reading books, to which we couldn’t agree more, is a good reason to take a closer look at our Library’s statistics for book loans.

Which books held in our collections have been under highest demand among our readers over the past year?

The Central Library of the General Secretariat of the Council of the European Union is open to Council officials and trainees, staff of other EU institutions and delegates working for Permanent Representations of the EU Member States. Members of the public may use the library for research purposes.

This ranking is the result of all loans of all our user groups combined.

  1. National leaders and the making of Europe : key episodes in the life of the European Council
  2. Capital in the twenty-first century 
  3. The European Council and European Governance : The Commanding Heights of the EU 
  4. The European Council and the Council : new intergovernmentalism and institutional change
  5. How the EU really works
  6. Europe in the storm : promise and prejudice
  7. After the storm : how to save democracy in Europe
  8. Le système présidentiel de l’Union européenne après Lisbonne
  9. Europa : la dernière chance de l’Europe
  10. European Union : power and policy-making
  11. Geopolitics
  12. Le leadership dans l’Union européenne 

Read on to find out more:

National leaders and the making of Europe : key episodes in the life of the European Council / Pierre de Boissieu …[et al.] ; foreword by Herman Van Rompuy.
London : John Harper Publishing, 2015.
320 p.
ISBN 9780992974893
Availability Central Library — Main Collection — 102873

Since its creation in 1974, the European Council has evolved from an informal meeting of presidents and prime ministers to become a full EU institution in its own right and the Union’s supreme political authority, driving its strategy and resolving its crises. Nothing of any significance in the Union can now be set in motion without its consent, nor accomplished without its support. This book tells the story of how this came about. The authors are serving or former senior EU civil servants who have all been closely involved in preparing and attending European Councils: Pierre de Boissieu, Jim Cloos, Poul Skytte Christoffersen, Luuk van Middelaar, Jacques Keller-Noëllet, Guy Milton, Christine Roger, Thérèse Blanchet, David Galloway and André Gillissen. Very few officials have such intimate access. They therefore write as first-hand witnesses of events as they happened, offering new perspectives and insights.

Capital in the twenty-first century / Thomas Piketty ; translated by Arthur Goldhammer.
Cambridge, MA : Harvard University Press, 2014.
685 p.
ISBN 9780674430006
Availability Central Library — Main Collection — 100782

What are the grand dynamics that drive the distribution of capital? This important work of political economy sheds a light on the historical evolution of income distribution and the prospects for economic growth. Backed by detailed data and analysis covering the timespan since the 18th century, Piketty argues that the growing concentration of capital in fewer hands has enabled its owners to keep it relatively scarce and thus valuable.

The European Council and European Governance : The Commanding Heights of the EU / edited by François Foret and Yann-Sven Rittelmeyer.
Abingdon : Routledge, 2014.
190 p.
Series: Routledge studies on government and the European Union
ISBN 9780415857338
Availability Central Library — Main Collection — 100314

The editors argue that analysis of policy-making during EU summits can shed light on underlying trends in European bureaucracies and political communities. The example of the European Council is used to help to understand the EU as a source of law and formal or symbolic authority. The editors note the constant process of institutionalisation within the EU institutions and conceptualise it as triple normalisation of the EU, formed by the EU system itself, the increasing diffusion of norms, and the impact on the everyday lives of European citizens.

The European Council and the Council : new intergovernmentalism and institutional change / Uwe Puetter.
Oxford : Oxford University Press, 2014.
265 p.
ISBN 9780198716242
Availability Central Library — Main Collection — 101295

Puetter, Professor in Public Policy at the Central European University in Budapest, argues that the European Council has obtained a leading role in policy-making in all new areas of EU activity. It sets the main policy objectives and reserves the right to finalize decisions that are considered to have fundamental repercussions on domestic policy-making. The meetings of the heads of state and government have become the focal point of EU politics. Member states have repeatedly rejected new major transfers of ultimate decision-making powers to the supranational level. Yet there seem to be no signs of integration fatigue. Decentralised political authority requires a constant process of consensus generation among member state governments and the core institutions, so as to bring national-level legislative and executive decisions in tune with commonly agreed EU objectives. Puetter concludes that the Council spends more time on non-legislative decision-making and intergovernmental policy debate than ever before.

How the EU really works / Olivier Costa, Nathalie Brack.
Brussels : Ashgate, 2014.
264 p.
ISBN 9781472414632
Availability Central Library — Bibliographies of the Council — EC.C 2014 cos

Over the last two decades, the EU has experienced a series of dramatic changes to its powers, its institutional design, its constitutional framework and its borders. At the same time, the uneasy relationship between European citizens and elites has complicated both the reform and the function of the Union. While the Lisbon treaty provided some answers to crucial questions, it did not clarify the nature of the EU, which remains at the crossroads of federal and intergovernmental logic. The current economic and financial crisis puts the EU’s legitimacy further under pressure and creates the impression of a turning point. This book provides a concise analysis of the EU and its dynamics by paying particular attention to its day to day operation.

Europe in the storm : promise and prejudice / Herman Van Rompuy.
Leuven : Davidsfonds Uitgeverij, 2014.
141 p.
ISBN 9789059085664
Availability Central Library — Main Collection — 100780

Before his mandate as President of the European Council came to an end in late 2014, Herman Van Rompuy shared his experience gained during five years in office. This essay is an insider’s account of European Council meetings as well as the dynamics of negotiations during and between summits. It argues for more unity in Europe, a continent which is more and more united by the common challenges its governments, economies and citizens face, in order to better handle financial crises in the eurozone, and to establish lasting prosperity.

After the storm : how to save democracy in Europe / Luuk van Middelaar and Philippe Van Parijs (eds.).
Tielt : Lannoo, 2015.
264 p.
ISBN 9789401428002
Availability Central Library — Main Collection — 102777

This sequel to Europe in the Storm starts with the former President of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy reflecting on his five years in office: “We hear a great deal about a democratic deficit, but is there not also a leadership deficit? Where are the courageous men and women who speak for Europe? After summits, some prime ministers lacked the courage to defend European Council decisions inside their own national borders. This has badly damaged Europe’s political credibility.” The core of this book is a collection of essays of thinkers and philosophers who analyse challenges for European democracies and unintended consequences of integration, public opinion and populism. The concluding remarks revolve around the future of democracy in the European Union with its crisis management, compromise politics and “constructive ambiguity”.

Le système présidentiel de l’Union européenne après Lisbonne / sous la direction de Véronique Charléty et Michel Mangenot ; [préface de Herman Van Rompuy].
Strasbourg : Ecole nationale d’administration, 2012.
246 p.
Series: Professionnels de l’Europe
ISBN 978-2-11-129155-3
Availability Central Library — Main Collection — 097553

La présidence du Conseil est morte, vive la présidence! Après l’entrée en vigueur du traité de Lisbonne, que reste-t-il de l’ancien modèle de la présidence du Conseil inventé il y a soixante ans par le traité de Paris en 1951 ? Les interprétations varient. Pour les uns, la présidence semestrielle ne joue presque plus aucun rôle au profit de la nouvelle présidence stable du Conseil européen; pour les autres, elle conserve un poids important et trouve une nouvelle place de nature plus supranationale.

Europa : la dernière chance de l’Europe / Valéry Giscard d’Estaing ; préface de Helmut Schmidt.
Paris : XO éditions, 2014.
188 p.
ISBN 9782845637528
Availability Central Library — Main Collection — 101981

Valéry Giscard d’Estaing appelle, avec l’ancien chancelier allemand Helmut Schmidt, à la construction urgente d’un ensemble fort et fédéré, comprenant, dans un premier temps, douze nations de l’Union européenne. Leur projet, baptisé EUROPA, ne demande aucune modification des traités européens. Création d’un Directoire, instauration d’un seul et même budget, fiscalité et droit du travail communs, il permettra au continent européen de redevenir puissant et solidaire face aux deux géants de la mondialisation, les Etats-Unis et la Chine.

European Union : power and policy-making / edited by Jeremy Richardson and Sonia Mazey.
4th ed.
Abingdon : Routledge, 2015.
503 p.
ISBN 9780415715522
Availability Central Library — Main Collection — 102154

In its fourth edition, this standard textbook analysing the EU policy process has been updated to include opt-outs and the politics of multispeed Europe, the distribution of power among EU Institutions, negotiation and coalition building. It also discusses the roles of key institutions in the processing of policy problems, as in the chapter “The councils of the EU: intergovernmental bargaining in a supranational polity”.

Geopolitics / edited by Klaus Dodds.
London : SAGE, 2009.
4 volumes (344 p. ; 418 p. ; 368 p. ; 396 p.).
ISBN 9781848607088
Availability Central Library — Main Collection — 090565

This major reference collection highlights the contested and diverse nature of geopolitics and charts the controversial intellectual history of the field. Coined by the Swedish author, Rudolf Kjellen, the term ’geopolitics’ highlights the role that territory, resources and boundaries play in shaping global political relations. The collection brings together work from international relations, political science, history, geography and law into a definitive collection that covers three dimensions of the geopolitical: ’Classic geopolitics’ – examines the impact of physical geography on political actions; ’Critical geopolitics’, a parallel strand to the ’classical’ tradition, challenges the notion of geography as a passive backdrop to international affairs and examines the socially constructed nature of geographical claims; and, ’Popular geopolitics’ – looks at geopolitics as it has been presented outside of the formal academic arena.

Le leadership dans l’Union européenne / Jean De Ruyt ; préface de Herman Van Rompuy.
Louvain-la-Neuve : Presses universitaires de Louvain, 2015.
248 p.
ISBN 978-2-87558-351-2
Availability Central Library — Main Collection — 102172

L’auteur soutient que l’Union européenne ne se réconciliera avec ses citoyens que lorsque ceux-ci pourront identifier de véritables leaders au niveau des institutions. Il décrit les années Delors, les succès de Javier Solana, les défis relevés par Herman Van Rompuy pendant la crise de l’Eurozone, les responsabilités accrues de la Commission sous José Manuel Barroso, le parcours de Cathy Ashton, puis la procédure des Spitzenkandidaten, l’élection de Jean-Claude Juncker et le choix de Donald Tusk et de Federica Mogherini. Il critique la tendance de certains chefs de gouvernement à vouloir garder le contrôle de la construction européenne.


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