The inner workings of the European Union are as much a mystery to those living within its confines as they are to those of us who reside elsewhere. The Brussels bureaucracy that sets many of the EU's policies feels remote to its citizens, yet the influence of its decisions can extend worldwide. In this timely and insightful essay, Hans Magnus Enzensberger attempts to make sense of the EU's present political and economic roles and examine the EU's origins and inherent contradictions. In Enzensberger's view, Europe is involved in a project without precedent - the first non-violent form of post-democratic governance, which is trying to abolish the diversity of Europe and impose a regime that is not accountable to its citizens. Its often bizarre and arbitrary rules amount to a soft but relentless guardianship, dictating how half a billion people should live their lives regardless of their own political opinions and traditions. Enzensberger here offers a strategy for approaching this modern monster - at once gentle and giant, friend and foe.