A Change of Heart
The third dynamic in SPD European policy is ideological change. Ideological change had two key effects on party policy. First, the development of views on economic policy and the role of the state, culminating in the rise of Neue Mitte group in the party, had a major influence on the EU model and type of Euro-zone that the SPD wished to establish. Second, the party’s perception of the European Union altered substantively – from a complete disinterest in EU policy in the early 1990s, to a prioritisation of the Union (uniquely) in the first section of its manifesto for the 2002 federal elections as a means to achieve social democratic goals.1 A more long-term social democratic model came with the party’s Responsibility for Europe paper that integrated domestic and European policy into a federal concept that sought the entrenchment of specific social goals within a Charter of Fundamental Rights and a European constitution.2
KeywordsFinance Minister Party Leadership European Policy Social Democrat Social Market Economy
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