The European Employment and Social Inclusion Strategies – Second Printing
Edited By Jonathan Zeitlin and Philippe Pochet
CONCLUSION: The Open Method of Co-ordination in Action. Theoretical Promise, Empirical Realities, Reform Strategy 447
CONCLUSION The Open Method of Co-ordination in Action Theoretical Promise, Empirical Realities, Reform Strategy 1 Jonathan ZEITLIN Introduction As we saw in the introduction, the Open Method of Co-ordination has aroused fierce controversies about its democratic legitimacy, practi- cal effectiveness, and implications for European integration. Yet as we also saw, much of the debate surrounding the OMC has suffered from a serious empirical deficit, relying on a narrow range of often outdated evidence, and based mainly on official printed sources. Drawing on the previous chapters of this book, as well as on other recent research (both published and unpublished), this concluding essay seeks to redress the balance by reviewing the available evidence about the OMC in action, focussing particularly on the operations and impact of the European Employment and Social Inclusion Strategies at national and subnational levels. In order to establish appropriate criteria for the empirical assess- ment in the body of the chapter (Part II), the next section (Part I) briefly revisits the core claims for the theoretical promise of the OMC as a new mode or instrument of EU governance advanced by its proponents. Although the resulting assessment, as we shall see, is positive in many respects, it also highlights some significant practical limitations that inhibit the realisation of the OMC's theoretical promise. The final section (Part Ill) therefore considers how to overcome the shortcomings revealed by the empirical assessment, and proposes a reflexive strategy A preliminary version of this concluding chapter was presented at the conference organised...
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