A number of studies have investigated when parties change their policy positions. However, this growing body of research has had limited interaction with the literature on issue competition. To bring these two perspectives together, this article investigates how and when parties adjust their respective policy positions on immigration, the environment and the welfare state. In the article it is argued that especially large parties in electoral terms adjust their policy positions on specific issues in response to changes in the party system saliency of these issues. When the other parties increase their focus on a given issue, large parties adjust their position in the direction preferred by a majority of the voters. In the article this argument is investigated empirically, based on CMP data from 18 West European countries from 1980 to 2014. The findings largely support the argument and show a strong potential for further integration of the two dominant perspectives on party competition.