Most books about Europe take the European Community (EC) or Union (EU)1 as the point of reference for an association that is composed of nation states. The literature, which is vast, tends to be descriptive, seldom interpretive or critical. Most Europeans view the EU through the lens of national culture and politics, but the national perspective is largely absent from the literature. The prevailing narrative is that of the weakening of the nation state and the growth of the EC towards ever closer union. The single currency and Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) are often viewed as the last great step toward a supranational government, the culmination of a process of trade integration begun in 1957.
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