This text recognises the importance of maximizing the benefits of globalization while diminishing its negative effects. The social exclusion that globalization seems to foster, and the widening gap it facilitates between rich and poor in developed as well as in developing nations, can no longer be ignored. Accordingly, the concept of social rights, originally introduced in the European Social Charter of 1961, has once again come to the forefront of international and comparative labour law. The book contains the reports of the International Conference held in Brussels, on 9 May 2000, which was organized by The Royal Flemish Academy of Belgium and the Society for Social and International Cooperation, in collaboration with The Council of Europe, The European Union, and The International Labour Organisation. The goal of this conference was to investigate ways of building bridges between economic and technological market-driven developments on the one hand, and fundamental necessities of a civilized and decently human society on the other. Introductory remarks were made by Mr. R. Brillat (Head of the section European Social Charter, Council of Europe).The first paper seeks to identify the social challenges confronting European citizens in the 21st century. Then follow three reports by members of the Committee of Independent Experts of the Council of Europe (R. Birk, S. Evju and M. Mikkola), describing the rights contained in the European Social Charter, what the Charter means for Central and Eastern European countries, and the relationship between the Charter and the European Union. Current proposals to devise a Charter of Fundamental Rights for the European Union, and the work of the ad hoc convention established by the Tampere European Council of October 1999, are discussed in depth. Other papers are concerned with ensuring co-ordinated and coherent progress in this area among the various international and regional organizations of the wider global social community, and with the actual implementation of "core rights" in national legislation, including: Right to Work and Freedom to Work (A. Jacobs, M. Biagi, R. Salomone); Information and Consultation of Workers (M. Colucci); Equal Treatment and the Prohibition of Discrimination (R. Blanpain); The Rights of Children and Young Persons (M.Matey); Freedom of Association and Collective Bargaining (C. Engels); and The Right to Strike and Lock-out (G. Morris). Annexes reprint relevant documents of the Council of Europe (I), of the European Union (II), and the ETUC and UNICE (III).