More than ten years ago, when the project of the Single European Market was on the European political agenda, Michael Emerson-on leave from the European Commission-wrote a small monograph entitled What Model for Europe? (1988). He begins his book with an anecdote from a conference at which an American economist criticised Europeans for their employment problem and recommended the adoption of the American model of an unregulated labour market. This provoked the sharp reply of a European politician: "You do not understand that Europe operates on a different model" (Emerson, 1988, p. 1). A decade later, we still quest for a European social model as a base for transnational co-operation and cohesion, in particular, in the debate on EU social policy. An answer to the query might depend on the lens we use: From afar, when we compare the European welfare states with the advanced market economies of North America and Asia, we can recognise Europe's shared distinctiveness, whereas, when we look closer, we perceive intra-European, cross-national diversity. If there is-or should be-a model that takes the lead in European integration, this blue-print would have to portrait as much about Europe's unity of shared social values, institutions and structure as it would about how to manage historically-entrenched cross-national diversity.