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Europe 2020

Towards a More Social EU?


Edited By Eric Marlier, David Natali and Rudi Van Dam

How can Europe 2020, the EU’s new Strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth, lead to a stronger Social EU with less poverty and greater social cohesion? This book by a number of eminent scholars and experts is the first to attempt to answer this question.
The adoption in June 2010 by EU leaders of a target to lift at least 20 million people out of the risk of poverty and exclusion by 2020 is an important step forward. However, delivering on this and the Union’s four other mutually reinforcing targets, and achieving the EU’s ambitious social objectives, raises many political and technical challenges. These are examined in depth in this book.
A key objective of the book is to take a critical look at and draw lessons from the past, 2000–2010 Lisbon Strategy. Another important objective is to explore the format and role of EU coordination and cooperation in the social field in the new EU governance framework, in a context marked by slow recovery after the global economic crisis. Finally, the book also makes proposals for the further reinforcement of this coordination and cooperation and for the improvement of the different instruments available at EU, national and sub-national levels.
The analysis and concrete proposals presented in the book will be invaluable to policy-makers, researchers and other stakeholders interested in contributing to building a more Social EU. They will help to encourage new ideas and innovative approaches.


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5. Delivering the Goods for Europe 2020?The Social OMC’s Adequacy and Impact Re-assessed (Bart VANHERCKE) 115


115 5. Delivering the Goods for Europe 2020? The Social OMC’s Adequacy and Impact Re-assessed Bart VANHERCKE1 5.1 Introduction In the ongoing discussions on the future of the Social Open Method of Coordination (OMC), in particular in the context of the Europe 2020 Strategy, one rather basic element seems to be missing from the debate (or at least to have been obscured) namely an assessment of the extent to which the Social OMC (with its three strands on social inclusion, pen- sions, as well as healthcare and long-term care), has delivered concrete results. This is a legitimate concern at a time when EU and national policy-makers are discussing the future role and content of the Social OMC and the yet-to-be created “European Platform against Poverty” (EPAP), the social dimension of the Integrated Guidelines for Economic and Employment Policies, and the institutional design of the overall Europe 2020 Strategy. This chapter therefore assesses the results of the Social OMC with the aim of answering the question: Has the Social OMC delivered the goods?2 This issue has in fact been widely debated in the last decade in the OMC research community: once the initial praise for the OMC (both by politicians and scientists) started to wane, the process was subjected to intense scrutiny and found wanting in mainstream academic literature (Vanhercke, 2007). At first sight this should not come as a surprise. 1 The research done for this chapter benefited from funding from the Community’s PROGRESS programme and was supported by...

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