Informations and abstract
An irreversibly more competitive economy forces a rethinking of European concepts of social solidarity, away from redistribution to policies enabling individuals, regions and countries to participate successfully in an international market. Institutionally this is reflected in the continuing national fragmentation of European social policy, and in the absence of centralized social protection at European level. Politically promoted sectoral specialization, potentially accompanied by extensive infrastructural investment, is to offer territorial communities shelter against head-to-head, cut-throat competition while, hopefully, providing for internal equality as well as external competitiveness, and indeed for internally equally distributed external competitiveness. Especially suited for this strategy, which both reacts to and reinforces the absence of centralized political capacity in Europe and beyond, seem to be small and potentially homogeneous political entities.