European social models have many advantages and some disadvantages—both have been widely discussed. However, disputes on whether the European welfare state is a good or bad idea have become less relevant since the demographic dividend that used to fuel the institutions of the welfare state has disappeared. Having fewer resources, Europeans must spend less. In order to adjust to the new situation it is crucial to rethink the essence of social goals, to explain conclusions to the public, and to then neutralise certain elements of social models in order to withdraw them from political bargaining and downsize them. All this is necessary in order to save the social models, which have become overused. Not having the demographic dividend available, politicians have had to increase the burden put on production factors, reducing net remunerations. European social models still have a lot of potential for the future. If they focus on the key social goals and are of a reasonable scale then they will once again contribute to higher productivity and competitiveness among European economies.