A New Policy Environment
Chapter two examines the development of a new environment for European policy that led to the redefinition of national interests in Germany and the SPD. Here, we investigate the dramatic changes to the environment for European policy-making in Germany after 1990. Foreign Minister Fischer, for example, cited ‘the rapid pace of European integration’ and ‘globalisation of the economy’ as a major cause for the ‘urgent need … for a recalibration of our foreign policy’.1 ‘Climatic change’ has altered the foundations for European policy both in Germany and the SPD – the framework within which political parties and politicians formulate European policy – providing a critical juncture in German European policy. Climatic change has created what Marsh and Smith call ‘strong external uncertainties’, which ‘affect network structures, network interactions and policy outcomes’.2 In all the four instances listed below, it has served either to question or reinforce established patterns of European policy in Germany, whose previous success provided much of the rationale for continuity. To emphasise the importance of climatic change, is not – of course – to negate the fact that German policy may influence the policy context. The Federal Government, for instance, insisted on the creation of the EMU Convergence Criteria at Maastricht and the independence and stability-oriented ethos of the European Central Bank, which has been fundamental in shaping the Euro-zone. Due to Germany’s political and economic strength in Europe, the relationship is, therefore, a dialectic one.
KeywordsMonetary Policy Foreign Policy European Integration European Policy Flexible Labour Market
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