The Ambiguity of Social Europe in the Open Method of Coordination
Title: The Ambiguity of Social Europe in the Open Method of Coordination
Author: DAWSON, Mark
Citation: European Law Review, 2009, 34, 1, 55-79
The development of the open method of co-ordination from the extraordinary Lisbon European Council in 2000 has been considered by many academic and institutional commentators as a break-through for Social Europe. Yet what kind of breakthrough is it? While many "OMC optimists" have seen its development as providing a new space for social policy outside a restrictive Treaty structure, others have pointed to the integration of the OMC within the Lisbon Strategy as evidencing a new set of economic constraints on the welfare state's development. This paper will argue that there is a deep ambiguity within the OMC's social role; while on the one hand, it can be seen as "colonising"--or entering national social institutions ever further into an EU framework dominated by market actors--on the other, it can be posited as "reflexive", as encouraging both competing social and economic discourses, and inter-dependent national polities, to reflect upon the objectives of each other.
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