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Too Open for Its Own Good? Six Proposals for Taming Open Co-Ordination

By Almut Metz

Almut Metz: Too Open for Its Own Good? Six Proposals for Taming Open Co-Ordination, EU-Reform spotlight 01/2006
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09.02.2006 · EU-Reform-Spotlight 01/2006


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Key points:
  • Within the framework of the Lisbon Strategy launched in 2000, open methods of co-ordination (OMCs) have expanded to numerous fields of application, since a high degree of openness has made them an easily accessible instrument of EU policymaking.
  • The basic idea of open co-ordination – co-ordination rather than legislation; open to various actors, policies, and methods; transparent and open to the public – presents considerable opportunities for EU policymaking.
  • In light of an even more heterogeneous Union due to enlargement, and the need to search for new instruments beyond hard legislation in sensitive areas of national sovereignty, open co-ordination has the potential to develop into a complementary EU policymaking tool.
  • More than five years down the road, however, open co-ordination is still too 'open' to be a manageable instrument. The current hesitation of EU member states towards open co-ordination results primarily from the concept’s linguistic and conceptual vagueness. Thus, the most important challenge confronting open co-ordination involves the establishment of a common understanding of the concept as such.
  • The key to success lies in taming open co-ordination through six measures: clearly defining the overall objective of each respective OMC, developing a methodological tool to identify promising fields of application, enhancing member states' commitment to the OMCs, making open co-ordination more democratic, respecting heterogeneity, and constitutionalising open co-ordination.

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