This book was first published in Dutch in 1981. It was called
`Het staatsrecht van de landen der Europese Gemeenschappen¿ (Constitutional Law of the EC Member States) and covered the then nine member states of the European Communities.
Since that time, new editions have come to include new member states. The fifth edition, which was published in 1998, dealt with all fifteen countries that belonged to the European Union before the accession of ten new ones in 2004. An updated sixth edition, containing chapters on the same fifteen countries, was published in the spring of 2004. It is this sixth edition which is now presented in an English translation for the first time.
The work describes in depth, though not in detail, the constitutional systems of Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom.
Each chapter starts with a sketch of the constitutional history as an indispensable background to a proper understanding of the relevant constitution as it operates today. The outline of the constitutional system which follows deals with the sources of constitutional law, the federal or unitary character of the state (or something in between!), the head of state, the government, parliament, executive-legislative relationships, the legislative process, parliamentary scrutiny of government activity, electoral system, political parties, post-World War II election results and governments, the judiciary, regional and local government, and fundamental rights. The chapters conclude with a short bibliography.
This book has been a highly successful teaching and research tool in the Netherlands for almost 25 years, and it is hoped its English edition will now fulfill the same function for a wider audience.
The authors are all recognized authorities in the field of comparative constitutional law, many of them having extensive practical experience as politicians, judges or senior civil servants.