Abstract

There is an institutional as well as a cognitive dimension to the Bundestag's ability to shape German foreign policy. Existing analyses, however, have disregarded the cognitive preconditions for the Bundestag members to make use of their institutionalised powers. We have operationalised the cognitive dimension of parliamentary influence through the concept of issue salience, which refers to the importance an actor ascribes to an issue on the political agenda. The article presents the results of two consecutive surveys among all Bundestag members in which we have measured the salience of foreign policy issues with respect to three points of reference: the salience of (1) substantive issue areas, (2) Germany's bilateral relationships and (3) Germany's relations to international organisations.

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