The European social model?
Who would have thought that yours truly, a neo-liberal Thatcherite (and proud of it ;-) would ever refer to a Labour white paper as excellent? Well, Labour must have come a long way indeed ("Models that are not efficient are not sustainable and must be reformed"), and here is the paper in question which has been prepared as a backgrounder for last weekend's meeting of EU finance ministers under UK presidency. Its purpose is to dissolve the unfortunate notion of the one European social model, which is advanced with preference by our French friends in defence of their particularly rigid model. But at least Sarkozy has realised that it's not even a model, because it doesn't work. Worse: its failure might endanger the single market and the eurozone. This white paper proposes an interesting assessment of the four flavours of social models in Europe and points to the much vilified Services Directive as an important step towards completion of the single market. From a Swiss perspective, it would be interesting to see where our particular case fits into the landscape. My guess would be Anglo-Saxon, trending towards Continental.