The author analyses the characteristics and functioning of the European Union’s Open Method of Co-ordination. This is a mechanism whose purpose is to achieve mediation in social policy between EU member states, using soft law methods. The theoretical discourse around the OMC lionises its legitimacy, in terms both of its input (participation, transparency and responsibility) and of its output (effectiveness). The article maintains that the OMC’s real functioning reveals that it is a mechanism with a low level of effectiveness and serious deficiencies in terms of legitimacy. Finally, the author draws up some forecasts about the future of this mechanism of EU governance in the framework of the Europe 2020 strategy.
Keywords: Open Method of Co-ordination - Governance - Legitimacy - European Union - Social policy