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By Milena Büchs

Is the Open approach to Coordination (OMC) a good and bonafide device in ecu social policy-making? Milena B??chs analyses the targets and tools of the OMC, discusses methods which theorize its functioning, examines its coverage content material and develops a framework for its assessment. during the exam of a case examine the writer demonstrates how coverage actors practice the OMC in employment in Germany and the uk. The booklet concludes that the OMC pursues contradictory targets and is not likely to accomplish them concurrently.

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Extra info for New Governance in European Social Policy: The Open Method of Coordination (Palgrave Studies in European Union Politics)

Sample text

The term ‘Classical Community Method’ was coined by Scott and Trubek (2002). Drawing mainly on the EU Commission’s White Paper on governance (Commission of the European Communities 2001d) they mention the following features of the ‘Classical Community Method’. Policy-making based on this classical method produces legally binding provisions which either directly apply at the member state level or which have to be transposed into national law allowing for a certain degree of flexibility. The EU institutions play particular roles in the policy-making process.

This has, for instance, occurred in the UK regarding the ‘activation’ and ‘making work pay’ agenda (House of Commons 1999a: Column 472) and in France regarding the ‘social inclusion/exclusion’ approach (Erhel et al. ). These statements already indicate that the OMC has to be perceived as a ‘two-level game’ in which member state governments pursue their own interests and try to influence the OMC agenda and/or use the OMC in a way that they find politically favourable. Therefore the concept of ‘influence’ is also too simplistic, since it neglects this ‘bottom-up’ aspect of the OMC and suggests that analysing the implementation of the OMC objectives at the member state level is sufficient.

It is a communication situation characterized by a symmetry of power relationships, usage of ‘rational’ arguments, and participants who do not act in a self-interested manner but are oriented towards the ‘common good’, truth and honesty (Habermas 1987). This kind of communication is more likely to arise if the participants know each other personally and meet regularly. In one-off situations there is little incentive for participants to behave in a sincere and non-selfish manner because there are no social sanctions that could be applied in the case of non-compliance.

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