EU Employment Policy: Decentralisation or Centralisation Through the Open Method of Coordination?

26 Pages Posted: 13 Nov 2004

See all articles by Stijn Smismans

Stijn Smismans

Universita degli Studi di Trento

Date Written: April 2004

Abstract

Both the European institutional discourse and part of the literature on the Open Method of Coordination have argued that the OMC is based on a 'fully decentralised approach'. This paper analysis to what extent decentralised actors such as civil society organisations and regional and local authorities participate in the OMC in the field of employment. It argues that neither the institutional framework of the OMC nor the reality of participation correspond to the rhetoric.

Slightly provocatively the OMC could rather be dubbed an 'Open Method of Centralisation'; 'centralisation' since it leads to the definition at the central European level of policy choices - without broad scope of political debate - that otherwise would be taken at lower levels, and 'open' not in the sense of assumed increased participation of stakeholders and public scrutiny, but merely as being open-ended in its outcomes. Nevertheless, the OMC has some potential to be 'decentralised', on the one hand, by adjusting its institutional framework, and on the other hand, by 'territorializing' the European Employment Strategy through the search of better synergies between employment policy and territorial politics.

Keywords: Policy analysis, employment policy

JEL Classification: J53, K31

Suggested Citation

Smismans, Stijn, EU Employment Policy: Decentralisation or Centralisation Through the Open Method of Coordination? (April 2004). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=598821 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.598821

Stijn Smismans (Contact Author)

Universita degli Studi di Trento ( email )

Via Inama 5
I-38100 Trento, 38152
Italy

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