Open Method of Coordination as a Europeanization Tool

No.4(2009)

Abstract
The study analyzes the Open Method of Coordination phenomenon, which has over the last decade become a prominent representative of the “soft-law” approach to EU law-making and integration in general, with respect to its Europeanizing potential. It therefore seeks to answer the question whether it this method of governance can be considered a new (and more efficient) tool for the Europeanization of EU policies, i.e. if it contributes to convergence of their content as well as in discourses and general governance, or whether its potential is instead limited, with no capacity to produce real change when not accompanied by the “hard” tools of European governance. The methodology of the analysis lies in applying the general concepts of Europeanization to the operation of both – the theoretical framework of the method as well as the outcomes of its actual application. Regarding the theoretical concept, the article does not doubt its potential to become the engine of Europeanization for particular policies – especially those regarded as politically sensitive. However, it fails when it comes to the method’s actual application. The text identifies the major cause of this failure, which mainly rests on the inability to alter the institutional configuration of those respective policies and to effectively “depolitize” their content.

Keywords:
Open Method of Coordination; Europeanization; European social policy; European Employment Strategy; European governance; Goodness of fit concept; European politics
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