This introductory chapter sets out the book's purpose, which is to study the reform of the European Union, which has been regularly attempted since the mid-1980s with little success. Reform has become even more necessary due to enlargements that integrated twelve countries from Eastern and Southern Europe and brought the total number of EU countries to twenty-seven. The main reason for the slow rate of change was the opposition to far-reaching institutional reform from a minority of political leaders. Ultimately, reform was achieved by a lengthy and complex trial and error process. This book shows how political leaders pushing for reform were capable of controlling this process. The remainder of the chapter discusses the major obstacles to reform, the approach used in the present study, followed by an overview of the subsequent chapters.
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