1. A NEW STRATEGIC SITUATION
The short social-democatic decade and the return of the conservatives
After the German parliamentary elections in 1998, thirteen of fifteen governments of the then member countries of the European Union were led by social democrats; Spain and Ireland were the only exceptions. Within a decade, this picture has been reversed completely. The centre-left in Europe is everywhere on the defensive.
Self-criticism on the part of the left of its last twenty years is the necessary point of departure for real renewal. For the life goals, the political convictions and the style of politics of the most important leaders were no longer of the left, the results of their politics no longer had any connection to leftist goals, and the cooperative base for a common left formation had disintegrated. To put it bluntly, this left no longer knew what it wanted. It no longer wanted what it could do. It could no longer do what would have been good for itself and for the country.