The problems that social and labour market institutions are facing today are often attributed to globalisation and ageing. This article argues that globalisation merely exposes inherent weaknesses in social institutions while ageing aggravates them, but that neither of the two phenomena is the fundamental cause of the challenges. Moreover, there is no inherent trade-off between social and economic policies, but to reconcile the policies comprehensive modernisation is needed. Each country can face the challenges should they wish to do so and converging to a single social model is neither needed nor wanted. Finally, European (economic) and national (social) policies become increasingly intertwined and this calls for a new role for Europe.
Full article available only as PDF