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In the Quest for a European Social Model: The EU Integration Path of Social Democratic Parties in Germany and Spain

Social Democracy in the 21st Century

ISBN: 978-1-83909-953-3, eISBN: 978-1-83909-952-6

Publication date: 29 January 2021


In a globalised economy, the EU, being self-confident, could shape international standards by defending and promoting its own socioeconomic model. Social democratic parties rhetorically confess the need for a ‘European social model’, but meanings and ways to achieve it differ largely. In a comparative case study on the programmatic positioning of the German Sozialdemokratische Partei Deutschlands and the Spanish Partido Socialista Obrero Español, the parties' perspectives on the integration mode and their handling of the Economic and Monetary Union framework and its crisis over the last decade are traced. Although similar paths from neoliberal convictions of the ‘third way’ to a positive integration process in a fiscal union setting are found, the scope and levels vary, illustrating the abilities of both parties to meet new transnational challenges. The crisis of the Eurozone was a definitive turning point for the positioning of the Social Democrats in Spain in favour of more political and fiscal integration. In contrast, their German comrades already advocated increased social integration of the EU since 2005 but remained very cautious regarding reforms of the economic framework established by the Eurozone.




The author thanks the editors for their patience and helpful comments, as well as three anonymous reviewers for their valuable critiques and suggestions.


Hacker, B. (2021), "In the Quest for a European Social Model: The EU Integration Path of Social Democratic Parties in Germany and Spain", Brandal, N., Bratberg, Ø. and Thorsen, D.E. (Ed.) Social Democracy in the 21st Century (Comparative Social Research, Vol. 35), Emerald Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 131-159.



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