The paper discusses aspects of Croatian social policy, particularly social inclusion and social dialogue, in the context of Croatia’s status as a candidate country for accession to the EU. It describes the development of a European Social Model demonstrating that, notwithstanding certain problems, significant achievements have been made within the EU. Social dialogue has evolved from consultation to social governance, and the open method of co-ordination is implemented not only regarding employment issues but also in the social inclusion process. Furthermore, European concerns have been extended to the fields of pensions and health care, which will be addressed in future joint EU Social Protection Reports. The paper notes the salience of social policy issues in previous waves of accession. Analysis of Croatian welfare reforms shows that, thus far, the EU impact has been very limited. The paper calls for strengthened efforts, by Croatia and the EU, to ensure that aspects of social policy and the European Social Model are more systematically discussed, addressed and implemented as Croatia proceeds towards EU membership.