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Reinventing Social Democracy? Political Opportunity Structures in Germany and Spain

Padgett, S.A. and Gillespie, R. (2010) Reinventing Social Democracy? Political Opportunity Structures in Germany and Spain. In: Rethinking Germany and Europe. Palgrave McMillan. ISBN 9780230236554

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Abstract

Germany and Europe, the Federal Republic of Germany and the institutions of European integration, form a unique duality. They emerged in a state of co-dependence - with wide-ranging ramifications for the rest of Europe, both East and West - in the first decades after the Second World War. From the 1970s to the 1990s they had a symbiotic relationship, with Germany as a driving force in the key initiatives of European integration, and the EU adopting many of the institutional templates developed within Germany. More recently the closeness of the relationship has been strained as the geopolitical context has shifted and as Germany has faced a new set of resource constraints. These restrictions have challenged German democracy: the capacity of political parties to engage and mobilize citizens, the capacity of political institutions to tackle pressing policy problems. Those strains have been externalized in Germany's European diplomacy, producing a new assertiveness and a reduced commitment in pursuing European integration as an end in itself. This book is about the interface of German democracy with European diplomacy and maps out the shifting terrain in contemporary Europe.