Social Democratic Parties and Political Competition in the EU: Evidence of a Tri-dimensional Space

  • Abstract:
    This paper’s aim is to describe the structure of political competition in the EU as it is constructed by national parties. The analysis shows that the political competition in the EU is tri-dimensional. Social democratic parties in Great Britain, Germany and Italy are the case in point. Although the left-right economic dimension and the libertarian-authoritarian cultural dimension have been part of the space of political competition in the EU, the quantitative thematic analysis of party manifestos reveals a third component. It is concerns the role of the European political regime, relative to the Europeans and the international community. Indeed, since the 1970s, it has always been tri-dimensional. Therefore, the emergence of a struggle on the European political regime which is proper European has not managed to impose itself. This is social democratic parties’ missed opportunity.