In order to realize its vision of ‘a social Europe in the global economy’, the European Union (EU) aims not only to modernize the European social model but also to ‘disseminate, beyond the borders of the Union, the EU values and experience of a model of development combining economic growth and social justice’. 1 Even though this social model ‘cannot simply be transposed to other parts of the world’, the European Commission (2004b: 2) considers certain aspects are of interest to the Union’s partners. It has declared ‘the incorporation of the European social model into external dialogue and measures at bilateral, regional and multilateral level’ as an objective of external relations and seeks co-operation on this issue ‘fi rstly with the candidate countries, neighbouring countries and other third countries, …; secondly with international organisations like the ILO, OECD and UN and with organisations involved in economic governance (IMF, World Bank, WTO), in order to take greater account of the social dimension of globalisation and the social pillar of sustainable development’ (European Commission 2005: 5).