13 Colum. J. Eur. L. 649 (2007)
Kenneth Armstrong. Professor of European Union Law, Queen Mary, University of London.
Claire Kilpatrick. Senior Lecturer in Law, London School of Economics and Political Science.
As a novel technique of governance within the European Union, the “open method of coordination” (OMC) has attracted a significant degree of attention from the political science and legal community. Typically, analyses of the OMC characterize it with regard to two dominant conceptual reference points: the dichotomies of old/new governance and of hard/soft law. In this Article, the authors signal their dissatisfaction with the explicit or implicit deployment of these binary classifications: while these dichotomies function as a short hand for change, absent the prop of comparison, they provide little explanatory purchase on the nature of different coordination processes, differences across processes and changes within process. The Article develops its extended critique of the EU governance literature through the use of case-studies on the European Employment Strategy and the OMC on Social Protection and Social Inclusion.