The combined interests of HIVA (Higher Institute for Labour Studies) of the Catholic University of Leuven (looking at monetary and economic integration from the viewpoint of social protection) and UFSIA (Universiteit Antwerpen) (social protection in Belgium and Europe, international trade, competitiveness and economic integration) resulted in a two day colloquium in Leuven and Antwerp on ‘Trade, Competitiveness and Social Protection’ (December 2000). <br><br> The EU and EMU create important effects on internal and external trade possibilities, increased competition and increased competitiveness. The accession countries are preparing to enter this process. Globalisation encourages a world-wide search for improved competitiveness at the level of trade blocks, nations and regions. The completion of the internal market, enlargement and the launch of one currency in Europe are revolutionary changes. Therefore, the impact will probably be much more substantial than could have been estimated before this ‘change of regime’. Scholars and policy-makers, the business world and trade unions, civil society and consumer organisations, they all are worried about the impact on economic activities, growth, employment and social protection. What are the new trade patterns and what are the new comparative (or competitive?) advantages; what will the implications be for industrial change and industrial policy; what will be the role of the states and the regions in globalised competition (trade?) between trade blocs; what will be the possibilities for fiscal policies; what are the risks of social dumping or will there be persistent and continued growth in social protection? How do social security and the fight against poverty develop in competition for attention and in competition with market forces? <br><br> This two day colloquium brought together scholars and practitioners of economic and social policy in order to obtain a balanced view and to exchange opinions. With the support of the EZA ( European Centre for Workers’ Questions - Europäisches Zentrum für Arbeitnehmerfragen) and the European Commission, the APF (Athenian Policy Forum) and ETUI (European Trade Union Institute), the results of this two day colloquium can be made available in this volume of proceedings and can further inspire those organisations and many others interested in the relationship between the welfare state, integration and policy.