The purpose of this study is to examine the course of European Union (EU) policy in the German Social Democratic Party (SPD) from 1990 up until the end of 2003. In the late 1980s and early 1990s the SPD was characterised by ‘loosely coupled anarchy’,1 a term referring to its organisational, ideological and strategic pluralism. This anarchy also manifested itself in the party’s EU policy in the mid 1990s, as illustrated by the fight for control of this policy area at the Mannheim party conference in November 1995 (Chapter 8). At this point, there was little evidence to suggest that the SPD would rise from inner-party conflict to form the next government of Germany. There was equally little sign of the party establishing the contours of a cohesive policy on Europe. The destination of EU policy was nevertheless a detailed, comprehensive and pragmatic ‘vision’ of the Union, which provided a synthesis of the views of key domestic and European actors and the different positions within the SPD, characterised by the European policy motion drafted for the party’s 2001 conference, ‘Responsibility for Europe’.2
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