The Open Method of Coordination (OMC) is a new governance method applied in the Euro-pean Union to policy fields where the main competences still rest with the member states. The OMC should help to foster mutual learning about successful policies and promote policy transfer by identifying best practices and recommending them. By confronting this approach with the economic concept of laboratory federalism its potential for the innovation and diffu-sion of policies in a multi-level governance system is analysed. Both concepts use the basic idea of decentralised experimentation and mutual learning from experiences with imple-mented policies. Whereas the OMC organizes this learning process to a greater extent “top-down”, laboratory federalism is much more a “bottom-up ” concept. Their advantages and shortcomings in evaluating, finding and transferring best policies are discussed and the un-derlying insufficiencies in setting adequate incentives for adopting better policies are ana-lysed. It is shown that under certain conditions both concepts can supplement each other.
This article displays the importance of career guidance in Europe and beyond. The authors provide insight into the Open Method of Coordination (OMC), where mutual peer learning and development is of high importance. This paper highlights some of the elements of OMC in career guidance, discussing the terms “benchmarking”, “peer learning” and “qualitative goals”. Evidently, the OMC is seen as an instrument of governance, albeit a “soft“ one in relation to career guidance. The article points out the advantages of this soft steering model, e.g. mutual peer learning. However, it also talks about the criticism this particular approach earns, as being just another tool for policy convergence in areas that are outside democratic political control. The authors further discuss the focus of OMC to develop common frameworks for quality assurance across Europe. These frameworks put perspective on career management skills in developing quality assurance approaches and on establishing national career guidance coordination. Policies and practices, however, aren‘t interchangeable across national borders to create convergence, as structures, policies, resources, and cultures differ. There is plenty to be learnt from each other, and plenty of silos to be broken down. Practically, the vehicle for applying the OMC approach has been the European Lifelong Guidance Policy Network (ELGPN). (DIPF/Orig.) ; Der vorliegende Beitrag zeigt die Bedeutung der Bildungs- und Berufsberatung innerhalb und außerhalb Europas auf. Die Autoren gewähren Einblick in die Offene Methode der Koordinierung (OMK), bei der das gegenseitige Lernen von KollegInnen (Peer Learning) und ihre Entwicklung einen hohen Stellenwert einnehmen. Im Beitrag werden einige Elemente der OMK in Hinblick auf die Bildungs- und Berufsberatung beleuchtet und näher auf die Begriffe „Benchmarking“, „Peer Learning“ und „qualitative Ziele“ eingegangen. Die OMK gilt offensichtlich als Steuerungsinstrument – wenn auch als ein „sanftes“ in Zusammenhang mit der Bildungs- und Berufsberatung. Der Beitrag zeigt die Vorteile dieses sanften Steuerungsinstruments auf, wie z.B. das gegenseitige Peer Learning, beschäftigt sich jedoch auch mit der Kritik an diesem besonderen Ansatz: So handle es sich nur um ein weiteres Instrument der Konvergenzpolitik in Bereichen, die sich außerhalb der demokratischen politischen Kontrolle befinden. Die Autoren beschäftigen sich außerdem mit der Schwerpunktlegung der OMK auf die Entwicklung von gemeinsamen Rahmenbedingungen zur Qualitätssicherung innerhalb Europas. Diese Rahmenbedingungen legen das Hauptaugenmerk auf Kompetenzen zur Laufbahngestaltung und zwar durch die Entwicklung von Qualitätssicherungsansätzen und die Einführung einer nationalen Koordinierung der Bildungs- und Berufsberatung. Die Strategien und Praktiken lassen sich zum Zweck der Annäherung jedoch nicht einfach über Ländergrenzen hinweg austauschen, da es sich um unterschiedliche Strukturen, Richtlinien, Ressourcen und Kulturen handelt. Es gibt viel voneinander zu lernen und viele Barrieren müssen abgebaut werden. In der Praxis steht das European Lifelong Guidance Policy Network (ELGPN) als treibende Kraft hinter der Anwendung der OMK. (DIPF/Orig.)
This paper provides a theoretical and empirical assessment of the claim that the open method of coordination is a learning-based mode of governance. The paper presents four arguments. Firstly, learning in a political context is not a truth-seeking exercise. It is a political exercise. Secondly, the OMC may well have potential in terms of new governance. However, even when it is examined in its pure, ideal-typical form, open coordination has contradictory aims. It seeks to mute politics and to encourage high-level political coordination, to facilitate bottomup learning and to steer learning processes from above, to encourage cooperative learning and to spawn dynamics of competitive learning. This makes learning via open coordination more difficult. Thirdly, real-world open coordination provides empirical evidence of learning at the top (or ‘EU-level learning’), embryonic evidence of cognitive convergence from the top (or ‘hierarchical learning’), and almost no evidence of learning from below (‘bottom-up learning ’ from regions and local conditions, or ‘social learning’). There are several reasons for this rather disappointing track record, most pertinently perhaps, poor participation, a partially wrong choice of instruments for learning, and lack of attention to the peculiarities of learning in politics. Fourthly, the pre-conditions for learning differ across the policies in which the OMC is currently employed. The structural elements of public policies define the scope for learning.
The open method of coordination was a concept introduced by the Lisbon European Council of 23-24 March 2000 in order to better implement a long-term strategy for a competitive knowledge-based economy with more and better employment and social cohesion. This comprehensive strategy has set new goals for different policy fields facing structural change such as the information society, R&D, enterprises, economic reforms, education, employment and social inclusion. The open method of coordination aims to organise a learning process about how to cope with the common challenges of the global economy in a co-ordinated way while also respecting national diversity. This is becoming a new exercise for governance at European and national level. The implementation of this method is now under way and the purpose of this contribution is to present a general background, to take stock of this experience and finally, to point out some emerging issues.
One of the most discussed issues surrounding the Open Method of Coordination (OMC) is the way in which it influences national social policies. This article argues that the question of influence is incorrectly posed. Instead, the OMC has to be understood as a 'two-level game' in which member state governments and non-governmental actors try to have an impact on the definition of the OMC objectives and, subsequently, strategically and selectively use the OMC in national policy-making processes. This, however, entails problems in terms of the transparency of policy-making processes and the accountability of national governments. Adapted from the source document.
ABSTRACT. The development of the Open Method of Coordination (OMC) stems from the emergence of new challenges faced by the EU policy making. The debate over the OMC often overlaps with academic considerations over the New Modes of Governance (NMG). These two issues raised an increasing awareness of the importance of the participatory dimension in EU governance. The present paper aims at illustrating the template of the OMC and to compare the latter with the findings drawn from literature review on the NMG. Then, in order to bridge the gap between the ideal-typical features of the OMC and the concrete practice, the final sections are devoted to an attempt to evaluate whether the OMC has fulfilled its ideal typical promise of Participation in one of its main fields of application, namely the European Employment Strategy (EES).
One of the most discussed issues surrounding the Open Method of Coordination is the way in which it ‘influences ’ national social policies. This paper argues that the question of ‘in-fluence ’ is incorrectly posed. Instead, the Open Method of Coordination (OMC) has to be understood as a ‘two-level game ’ in which member state governments and non-governmental actors try to have an impact on the definition of the OMC objectives and, subsequently, strategically and selectively ‘use ’ the OMC in national policy-making proc-esses. This, however, entails problems in terms of the transparency of policy-making proc-esses and accountability of national governments.