This comprehensive textbook is the first to go beyond a western European perspective and provide a clear overview of European politics. Authors Jan-Erik Lane and Svante O. Ersson address the similarities of key political features among states in western, central, eastern, northern, and southern Europe and look forward to political developments toward the turn of the century. European Politics provides a thorough analysis of several converging key themes, including the nature of the state, party systems, and the formation of government and public policies. With this approach to economic, social, and political aspects of politics in Europe this major text presents a Europe that—within the context of reform—transition, and integration, has more in common in the early 1990s than ever before. With a clear thematic structure and helpful discussions of data drawn from 31 countries, European Politics offers both an accessible and genuinely comparative text that will be essential reading for students and researchers alike.

Introductory Chapter: Convergence versus Divergence

Introductory Chapter: Convergence versus Divergence
Introductory chapter: Convergence versus divergence

European politics takes on a new meaning following the fall of the Berlin wall. It is no longer adequate to talk about Western Europe contra Eastern Europe, as if they were totally different societies harbouring entirely different political systems. What is emerging in the 1990s is one Europe that covers several parts: the Scandinavian countries, Finland and Iceland in Northern Europe; the United Kingdom, Ireland, the BeNeLux countries and France in Western Europe; Portugal, Spain, Italy and Greece in Southern Europe; Germany, Austria and Switzerland in Central Europe; as well as a number of countries in Eastern Europe such as the Baltic countries (Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania), Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Romania, Hungary, the former ...

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