The relationship between Britain and the rest of Europe has provided an important fault line in the politics of British labour throughout the post-war period. The question as to whether Britain should be a member of the European Community proved an intractable source of division for most of the period and highlighted an important tension between social democratic internationalism and nationalistic labourism. In this context, the election of New Labour in 1997 marked an important transformation in the ideological and political orientation of the labour movement. Immediately following the 1997 election, the New Labour government agreed to the transposition of a raft of social and employment regulations into UK law that challenged the traditional industrial relations framework of ‘voluntarism’. The New Labour project involved the reconstruction of the Labour Party into a ‘modernized’ European social democratic party which had adapted to neoliberalism, was unfettered by ideological commitments to the socialization of the economy and had distanced itself institutionally from the trade unions. The British unions embraced ‘Social Europe’ as the principal bulwark against neoliberal globalization and engaged enthusiastically with institutions and alliances at the European level. The 1997 election thus highlighted the extent to which British labour had undergone a process of Europeanization. ‘Europe’ had become an increasingly important ‘frame’ for trade union policy, identity and action.