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The Open Method of Coordination and integration theory: are there lessons to be learned?

Tsarouhas, Dimitris (2009) The Open Method of Coordination and integration theory: are there lessons to be learned? In: UNSPECIFIED. (Unpublished)

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    Abstract

    This paper seeks to contextualize the Open Method of Coordination (OMC) and enrich our understanding of it by submitting constructivist insights to its policy assessment with a focus on the Employment Strategy (EES). The most developed and longest-standing OMC policy area, employment provides fertile ground for the assessment of a rapidly expanding theoretical perspective in IR and European integration applied to a growing policy process. Normative considerations as to the essence of the EU and its future trajectory were highly influential in the process of launching the OMC. The paper provides a framework of integration theory and highlights the particular contribution that the ‘thin’ variant of constructivism has made in understanding different aspects of EU policy and politics. In the next section, the OMC is discussed and its core characteristics identified. I claim that most of the OMC’s core elements are directly linked to constructivist assumptions about policy change. The paper identifies three of those, namely policy discourse, learning and participation in policy-making. I subject those to an empirical and theoretical assessment by use of the relevant literature. Concluding that the record shows such mechanisms to be hardly present in the Employment Policy OMC, I argue that an institutionalist reading of OMC provides a credible alternative by focusing on power resources, preferences and strategies available to core OMC actors, namely member states and the Commission. The paper concludes with a twofold argument: firstly, constructivist hopes on OMC are, at least in the current context, ill-founded. Secondly, while the OMC retains a number of advantages, practical policy suggestions that will enhance its appeal to policy-makers and the public alike are due before it becomes a credible policy option.

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    Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (UNSPECIFIED)
    Subjects for non-EU documents: Other > integration theory (see also researching and writing the EU in this section)
    EU policies and themes > Policies & related activities > employment/labour market > employment/unemployment
    EU policies and themes > EU institutions & developments > institutional development/policy > decision making/policy-making
    Subjects for EU documents: UNSPECIFIED
    EU Series: UNSPECIFIED
    ["eprint_fieldname_eusries" not defined]: UNSPECIFIED
    EU Annual Reports: UNSPECIFIED
    Conference: European Union Studies Association (EUSA) > Biennial Conference > 2009 (11th), April 23-25, 2009
    Depositing User: Phil Wilkin
    Official EU Document: No
    Language: English
    Date Deposited: 20 Aug 2012 20:26
    Number of Pages: 22
    Last Modified: 20 Aug 2012 20:26
    URI: http://aei.pitt.edu/id/eprint/33149

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