Policy Coordination, Social Indicators and the Social Policy Agenda in the European Union

Julia S O'Connor

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    64 Citations (Scopus)


    This paper traces the development of the European Social Model from the recognition of the right to equal pay for men and women in the Treaty of Rome to agreement of a Social Policy Agenda in 2000 and the adoption of an open method of coordination (OMC) in employment (1997), social inclusion (2000) and pensions (2002). The associated framework of social indicators is considered in terms of the measurement of poverty and social exclusion on a multi-dimensional basis. Reasons for the shift from directives to the OMC are discussed, as are the proposed extension and streamlining of that process and its synchronization with economic and employment policy in 2006. The Europeanization of significant aspects of economic policy and the pervasive differences across EU welfare states in social outcome indicators and capacity for redistribution contribute to the considerable constraints on the open method of coordination in social inclusion. Fulfilling its potential is dependent on national policy legacies, political context and the involvement of a wide range of national actors in National Action Plan formulation and monitoring. While the extent of change associated with the EU social-policy agenda and the OMC, in particular, is still an open question it is concluded that the EU dimension needs to be taken into account in analysing change over time in EU countries and in comparative analysis incorporating EU countries.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)345-361
    JournalJournal of European Social Policy
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 1 Nov 2005


    • European Social Model
    • social indicators
    • OMC


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