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Innovation in EU Governance? Six Proposals for Taming Open Co-Ordination

C·A·P Policy Analysis · 1 · 2005

Almut Metz, Bertelsmann Group for Policy Research: Innovation in EU Governance? Six Proposals for Taming Open Co-Ordination, C·A·P Policy Analysis · 1 · 2005

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09.12.2005 · Von Almut Metz


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Open methods of co-ordination (OMCs) have their origins in European Economic and Employment Policy. Within the framework of the Lisbon Strategy, these mechanisms have developed into a kind of panacea, since a high degree of openness has made them an easily accessible instrument of EU policymaking. Five years down the road, however, open co-ordination is still too 'open' to be a manageable policymaking tool. The 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 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. But five years of open co-ordination have revealed more deficits than positive results. 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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