The Barcelona Summit of March 2002 provided the catalyst for further coordination and synchronisation between the social and economic dimensions of the Lisbon Strategy framework. The definition of the ‘European Social Model’ as ‘good economic performance, a high level of social protection and education and social dialogue’ has become a working definition underpinning the direction of social policy in official publications.1 The Barcelona Presidency also led to the adoption of a streamlined set of Employment Guidelines, Recommendations to the Member States and Broad Economic Policy Guidelines on the same day, heralded as an ‘instrument for economic governance’ by the Commission.2 The reform of the European Employment Strategy (EES) concentrates upon the problems and weaknesses of the EES identified in the evaluation of the first 5 years of the Strategy.3 The Commission identified four central issues for reform, focusing upon the need to set clear objectives (which include priorities and targets), the need to simplify the policy guidelines, the need to improve governance and ensure greater consistency and complementarity with other EU processes. A new development on the eve of the Spring Council (the Brussels Summit) on 20–21 March 2003 was a ‘Social Summit’ attended by a troika of the Heads of State/Government of the past, current and future Presidencies, the Commission and the Social Partners. One outcome of this Summit was the creation of a new eight-member task force, chaired by Wim Kok.4 The aim of the European Employment Task Force is to investigate practical steps to prompt the Member States to implement the new revised EES endorsed at the Spring Summit. The Task Force will report to the Commission in time to draft the Joint Employment Report for the annual Spring Summits.