New modes of governance, the Open Method of Co-ordination and other fashionable red herring

Timo Idema, Daniel R. Kelemen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

61 Scopus citations

Abstract

Many academic analysts have greeted EU efforts to promote ‘new modes of governance’ including the Open Method of Co-ordination (OMC) with enthusiasm. Most of the literature on EU governance suggests that the introduction of new modes of governance is desirable and that the OMC and other new modes of governance are likely to play a greater role in EU governance in the future. We challenge this view of the OMC and other ‘new’ modes of governance. The current significance and likely future impact of such modes of governance has been greatly exaggerated. The OMC and new modes of governance more generally are red herring that distract attention from the more important and pervasive increase in the formality and judicialisation of EU policy making. While we agree that the idealised model of the OMC might be desirable in many respects, we question the conceptual underpinnings of this hopeful vision and find that the actual practice of the OMC to date has little to recommend it. Finally, we reject claims that the OMC and other new modes of governance promise to enhance the legitimacy of EU policy making. Instead, they threaten to do precisely the opposite.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)108-123
Number of pages16
JournalPerspectives on European Politics and Society
Volume7
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2006

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Political Science and International Relations
  • Sociology and Political Science

Keywords

  • European union
  • Governance
  • Open method of coordination
  • Regulation

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