The Open Method of Coordination

or how the Commission changes Europe without force.

The Open Method of Coordination (OMC) is a relatively new invention in the EU. It first started in the 1990s in the field of employment and has spread into many other fields since then.

Basically, the OMC is a 'special way' of how the EU member states work together to achieve a specific goal. Rather then the Commission 'forcing' member states to take certain measures to achieve a goal, it asks member states to adopt any measures themselves that they think will reach the goal best. Regularly, the member states come together and discuss which tool they found out to work best (so that other member states can introduce it, too). This way, states that don't do so well in achieving the goal get new ideas and might even feel a bit pressured to step up their efforts (after all, nobody likes to be at the bottom of a list). The Commission monitors the progress towards achieving the goal and sometimes asks especially 'lazy' member states to do more.

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In the case of Fraternité2020 the goal would be achieving that 20% of Europeans have spent at least 20 weeks in another European country by the year 2020. The Commission and member states would have to define a way to assemble reliable statistics to measure progress towards that goal, while the member states alone would then have to try to convince as many of their citizens as possible to participate in European exchange programmes to reach that goal. Also, the more people in one particular EU country participate in these programmes, the more money this country (or better, its citizens) will receive directly from the EU budget.

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