In the introduction the authors place the articles of this thematical issue into the context of the discourse on the globalization and its consequences. Searching for a way out of the globalization trap the potential of the European Union to avoid an unregulated competition of national states is put under scrutiny. Summing up the papers, the authors come to the conclusion that in certain policy fields, especially regulative policies aiming at similar standards for the protection of the environment, health and safety issues or workplace participation do have chances of overcoming the dilemmata of collective action by the European Union. Distributive and particularly redistributive social policies are much more demanding and tend to overstrain the solidarity of a European collective identity. Changing their perspective from the potential for action and problem solving to input-legitimation of collective political decision processes, the authors point out the democratic deficit of the European Union. Exactly when it is possible to design the European actors in such a way, that they will be able to handle public good problems effectively and efficiently, democratic legitimation becomes a bottleneck. Therefore a more sober quest for a post-national and post-parliamentary design of democratic institutions for the European Union is demanded.