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Praise for the first edition: ""The book is to be highly recommended as an extremely readable source on the historical perspective and current challenges facing the European Union...one of the European books of the year."" This new edition is a complete update and revision of the original and covers the Amsterdam Treaty and other major European developments since 1996. It includes 28 essays under six main headings: History and Context; Politics; Economics and Policies; Law and Society; International Relations; and the Future. Each essay is written by a specialist contributor who has provided a complementary further reading list with annotations. Each volume in the Regional Handbooks of Economic Development series examines key issues affecting the economic growth of the region. The series is designed to help the general reader understand a variety of complex factors -- social, political and economic -- that will bear on a region's economic growth. The Handbooks begin with two to three chapters that situate a region's economic conditions and initiatives within an historical and political context.;There follow some 20 chapter-length essays, each prepared by a recognised expert in the field, analysing such factors as population, natural resources, foreign trade, banking and financial structure, as well as the role of multinational corporations, the labour situation and distribution of wealth within the region. Each volume closes with a series of appendices that include a detailed chronology of events in the region; a glossary of terms; biographical entries on key personalities; an annotated bibliography of further reading; and an index.