This book deals with ongoing processes of European cooperation and integration, processes that may have a potential to change the political organization of Europe. Based on ideas from 'the new institutionalism' the book offers a systematic perspective on institutional change and in particular the role of institutions in relation to four central and durable issues in the study of political life. These are: (1) the mediation between unity and diversity: what ties a society together and what keeps it apart. (2) The relations between citizens and their helpers: why the democratic deficit in the European Union can not be eliminated solely by making mechanisms of direct citizens participation and representation more efficient. Needed are also institutions that make direct participation redundant because they routinely work with integrity, generating expected and desired outcomes. (3) The relation between democratic design and historical drift: To what degree democracies are able to design and reform key institutions of governance so that their structures reflect popular will, understanding and control. (4) The co-existence of old and new political orders: How elements of a new order may supplement rather than replace elements of the old order, generating a 'mixed order' based on partly inconsistent principles and rules.