The European Union is now entering a crucial phase as the ratification process accelerates and key debates and referenda take place in existing and potentially new member states. The Union's Constitutional treaty is often cast as either a blueprint for a centralized and protectionist super-state or as the triumph of Anglo-Saxon economics. Yet it has been little read, particularly in the United Kingdom. This book puts this right by publishing the full text of the crucial first part of the document and showing that it does not justify either of the extreme interpretations imposed on it. Written by two experts of the treaties, Understanding the European Constitution sets the Constitutional Treaty in context, examining its main themes and content and considering the implications of any rejection. It does this in uncomplicated language and with the help of explanatory tables and a glossary. Those who wish to make a considered verdict on the basis of the facts will find it invaluable.