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By E. Barcevicius, T. Weishaupt, J. Zeitlin, Egidijus Barcevi?ius

According to the findings of a large-scale, comparative study venture, this quantity systematically assesses the institutional layout and nationwide impact of the Open approach to Coordination in Social Inclusion and Social security (pensions and health/long-term care), on the eu Union point and in ten european Member States.

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Thus, both governmental and non-governmental actors can make strategic use of European concepts, objectives, guidelines, targets, indicators, performance comparisons, and recommendations as a political resource for their own purposes. Member State governments may use OMC processes as a ‘selective amplifier’ (Visser 2005) to legitimate and push through contested reforms, and may even deliberately press for sensitive issues to be ‘uploaded’ to the European agenda, in order to ‘download’ them subsequently into national debates.

More generally, the mechanisms of OMC influence typically operate through what we term capillary effects, carried into national policymaking by domestic actors linked into European networks, sometimes without their conscious awareness. Thus, for example, OMC processes may work in combination with other transnational cooperation frameworks (such as those associated with the OECD, the World Bank, ILO) by drawing attention to specific issues at a particular moment in time (for example, child poverty), by offering new formats and data for discussion and comparison, procedural templates, and concepts for reflection.

Following a public consultation on the post-Lisbon Strategy launched in November 2009 (European Commission 2009e) – which triggered a rather heated debate (Vanhercke 2011; Copeland and Daly 2012) – the Commission published a Communication on the Europe 2020 Strategy in early March 2010 (European Commission 2010c). The European Council discussed the Commission’s proposal in its Spring Summit (25–26 March 2010), endorsing the overall approach and some of the key governance proposals (European Council 2010a), while the strategy was finalized and formally adopted at the summit on 17 June 2010 (European Council 2010b).

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