chapter  1
Understanding European Union governance
Political challenges of the integration project
ByDesmond Dinan
Pages 13

This chapter traces the political challenges of the integration project from the post-war period to the present. It describes how the European Unions (EU's) institutional architecture has evolved over time, and how a system of multilevel governance has gradually emerged. It also examines the ways in which the EU has tried to strengthen democracy and improve efficiency in light of its deepening policy scope and expanding membership. The European Community (EC)/EU has developed episodically along three distinct but closely related dimensions or axes. The post-2010 EU crisis consists of several endogenous and exogenous shocks. The sudden eruption of the Ukraine crisis in 2014 compounded the sense of uncertainty and insecurity already pervading the EU. Accordingly, EU policy-making does not take place exclusively at the European level, divorced from the national and sometimes the subnational levels of governance. The chapter concludes with a discussion of the political challenges facing the EU at a time of deep crisis and plummeting public support.