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"The OMC, a legitimate mode of governance?"

Bursens, Peter and Helsen, Sarah. (2005) "The OMC, a legitimate mode of governance?". In: UNSPECIFIED, Austin, Texas. (Unpublished)

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      [Introduction]. For a long time, European integration has been associated with the so-called Community method. This method implied the transfer of powers from the Member States to the EU level, the central role of a supranational organ in the preparation of EU policies, the possibility of QMV and the adoption of binding rules (Dehousse 2002). However, new evolutions and the expanded scope of European integration enforced more flexibility upon European decision-making. The quest for new possible governance modes besides the traditional Community method included the Open Method of Coordination (OMC). Referring to ‘new governance architecture’ (Radaelli 2003) or ‘new mode of governance’ (Scott 2002) OMC is hoped to realise further European integration. Several events gave rise to the creation of the OMC. Firstly Member States recognised the importance of European action in certain policy fields (employment, social policy, migration, criminal prosecution, education). However political support for the classical transfer of competences to the EU level and thus for harmonisation through traditional European legislation was difficult to gain with regard to these policy fields. Therefore a new approach of flexible and open coordination was to overcome this dilemma. (Scott 2002, 2; Heritier 2003, 105-106; Radaelli 2003, 21-22; Scharpf 2003, 99; Borras and Jacobsson 2004, 186). In addition, the ‘Social Europe’ as agreed upon in the Maastricht Social Agreement dropped behind in comparison with the ‘Monetary Europe’. Because of the complex nature of social problems, the traditional regulatory methods to compensate the loss of Member States’ autonomy were deficient to link economic and social/employment dimensions of EU policy. The introduction of the OMC was to be the solution to the imbalance between EU economic integration over social integration. (Goetschy 2003, 7; Radaelli 2003, 21; Scharpf 2003,111-115; Borras and Jacobsson 2004, 186). Finally the legitimacy crisis in the Union generated the opportunity to create a new governance tool by which the input of the decision-making process was ascertained by more and democratic actors. In addition, the output of the decision-making system was to be much more effective and efficient, by realising a European model of social policy. (Commissie 2001; Goetschy 2003, 10; Radaelli 2003, 7; Borras and Jacobsson 2004, 186-187; Schäfer 2004) Particularly, the legitimacy angle will be the focus of this article. OMC as a new governance instrument should be considered legitimate and can therefore possible contribute to the overall legitimacy of the EU. In other words, arising from a EU legitimacy crisis, is the OMC really the expected legitimacy enhancing instrument? Or is it a legitimacy problem in itself? In the following paragraphs, the concepts of input and output legitimacy are elaborated upon and OMC, specifically EES, is assessed for both its input and output legitimacy and for its possible contributions to the overall legitimacy of the EU.

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      Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (UNSPECIFIED)
      Subjects for non-EU documents: EU policies and themes > Policies & related activities > political affairs > governance: EU & national level
      EU policies and themes > Policies & related activities > political affairs > legitimacy
      EU policies and themes > EU institutions & developments > institutional development/policy > decision making/policy-making
      Subjects for EU documents: UNSPECIFIED
      EU Series and Periodicals: UNSPECIFIED
      EU Annual Reports: UNSPECIFIED
      Conference: European Union Studies Association (EUSA) > Biennial Conference > 2005 (9th), March 31-April 2, 2005
      Depositing User: Phil Wilkin
      Official EU Document: No
      Language: English
      Date Deposited: 16 Mar 2005
      Page Range: p. 24
      Last Modified: 15 Feb 2011 17:25

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