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1 How to Improve Social Policy Coordination in the EU Jonathan Zeitlin EU Center of Excellence University of Wisconsin-Madison.

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Presentation on theme: "1 How to Improve Social Policy Coordination in the EU Jonathan Zeitlin EU Center of Excellence University of Wisconsin-Madison."— Presentation transcript:

1 1 How to Improve Social Policy Coordination in the EU Jonathan Zeitlin EU Center of Excellence University of Wisconsin-Madison

2 2 Plan of the talk I. Towards a new post-Lisbon architecture for EU policy coordination –A. The new Lisbon cycle, : a flawed compromise –B. A new governance architecture for the post-Lisbon era II. Strengthening the OMC –A. Joined-up thematic strategies –B. Enhancing mutual learning, participation, & EU financial support

3 3 I.A. The new cycle of the Lisbon Strategy, : a flawed compromise The relaunched Lisbon Strategy, : a new architecture for EU policy coordination –Focus on growth and jobs –Integration of economic and employment guidelines –Bilateral dialogue between Commission and MS on National Reform Programmes, based on national priorities and stakeholder partnerships –Mutually reinforcing dynamic between IGs/NRPs and streamlined OMC on Social Protection/Inclusion, based on feeding in/feeding out

4 4 Lisbon II in action: limitations of the new architecture Erosion of employment policy coordination –Reduced visibility of EES at EU and national levels –Increased unevenness in national reporting and reduction of EU-level monitoring capacity Limited effectiveness of mutually reinforcing dynamic between IGs/NRPs and OMC/SPSI –Few NRPs include social cohesion objectives –Little reference to OMC/SPSI in NRPs –Little evidence of feeding out to social objectives, e.g. through systematic assessment of effects of economic/employment policies on social outcomes

5 5 Enhancing national ownership and civil society participation? A key objective of Lisbon II Most independent assessments agree that 2005 NRP process did not realize these goals Big push from Commission for increased national ownership in NRP implementation process –Creation of new consultative/coordination bodies, upgrading of Lisbon coordinators, wider involvement of national parliaments, social partners, local/regional authorities But still little involvement of civil society actors (e.g. social NGOs) and low public visibility in most MS –Confirmed by Euréval Evaluation of the Integrated Guideline Package for Growth and Jobs (2008): overall visibility…to the wider public remains very low

6 6 Strengthening Lisbons social dimension 2007 Spring European Council resolved that common social objectives of MS should be better taken into account in the Lisbon Agenda Year-long public debate about how to do this under German and Portuguese Presidencies Two countervailing positions –Incorporate common social objectives into IGs/NRPs and link OMC/SPSI more closely to Lisbon Strategy –Maintain stability of the IGs and focus on better implementation of national reforms

7 7 The new cycle of Integrated Guidelines No change to the existing set of Guidelines Social dimension of Lisbon strengthened by revision of accompanying explanatory text –IGs designed to contribute to social cohesion objectives as well as growth and jobs –Need for strengthened interaction with OMC/SPSI –MS should ensure that economic, employment, & social developments are mutually reinforcing through broad stakeholder partnerships/systematic follow-up –MS encouraged to monitor social impact of reforms

8 8 A flawed compromise Disconnect between old guidelines and new explanatory text will not improve European citizens understanding of EU policies nor enhance ownership by national actors Not conducive to joined-up governance and stakeholder participation needed for innovative social reforms Remains to be seen how commitment to promote greater synergy between IGs/NRPs & OMC/SPSI will be followed up and monitored –E.g. through guidance to MS on preparation of NRPs and development of indicators for feeding in/feeding out Leaves the EU with multiple, overlapping, potentially inconsistent mega strategies –Sustainable Development, Lisbon, OMCs

9 9 B. A new governance architecture for the post-Lisbon era EU needs a new overarching strategy for the post-Lisbon era based on four equal, mutually reinforcing pillars –Economic growth –Full employment –Social cohesion –Environmental sustainability

10 10 A cockpit, not a Christmas tree Each pillar should have its own objectives, guidelines, targets, indicators, national strategies, peer review, and evaluation process Incorporating these common sectoral objectives and indicators into the EUs overarching strategy is not like adding ornaments to a Christmas tree, but rather like equipping a cockpit with the full set of instruments needed to avoid flying blind

11 11 Reconceiving the IGs and NRPs In order to avoid overload, IGs and NRPs should be reconceived as twin apexes of a synthetic policy coordination process built up from sectoral OMCs for each pillar –Sites where conflicting priorities can be reconciled, not unified/centralized replacements for sectoral coordination processes themselves –Each sectoral policy coordination process should explicitly incorporate indicators for monitoring mutual interactions between them (feeding in/feeding out)

12 12 Maximizing opportunities for mutual learning To maximize opportunities for mutual learning, MS should report consistently on progress towards each objective/guideline, using common European indicators as far as possible –Common indicators should be outcome-oriented, responsive to policy interventions, subject to clear/ accepted normative interpretation, timely, & revisable –Indicators should be sufficiently comparable and disaggregable to serve as diagnostic tools for improvement/self-correction by national/local actors, rather than as soft sanctions/shaming devices to ensure MS compliance with European targets –Limitations of existing Lisbon Assessment Framework

13 13 II. Strengthening the OMC Architectural reconstruction of EU policy coordination must now await the next cycle of Integrated Guidelines beginning in 2011 But the EU can meanwhile improve social policy coordination and prepare the ground for deeper reforms under the new Social Agenda through ongoing proposals to strengthen the OMC via –Joined-up thematic strategies –Enhancing mutual learning, stakeholder participation, & EU financial support

14 14 Joined-up thematic strategies One promising approach to strengthening both the OMC and the mutually reinforcing dynamic between the EUs social, economic, and employment objectives is the development of joined-up strategies on key cross-cutting themes –Flexicurity –Active inclusion –Child poverty & well-being/investing in youth –Active ageing –Gender equality/reconciling work & family

15 15 Deepening horizontal and vertical policy coordination Adoption of common European principles –Responding to shared challenges and values –Respecting diversity of national institutions and starting points Ensure horizontal policy coherence and maximize cross-sectoral synergies without creating new processes Intensive follow-up, monitoring, and evaluation –Development of joint indicators and assessment frameworks –Thematic peer reviews and comparison of good/bad practices –Full involvement of all relevant actors –Network of local observatories (active inclusion) Possible use of EU recommendations (common and/or country-specific)

16 16 Enhancing mutual learning Build on ongoing developments within SPC & EMCO –Focus peer review/mutual surveillance on key themes, fostering more open policy debate –More context and process-oriented approach to peer review of both good and bad practices –Stronger analytical framework for understanding relationship between policies and outcomes –More extensive use of independent experts –Better linkages between EU and national debates through improved dissemination, wider stakeholder participation, and development of transnational learning networks

17 17 Expanding stakeholder participation Open up OMC processes to active participation by civil society and sub-national actors –Revive/reinvigorate NAPs for employment & inclusion –Promote local and regional action plans –Mainstream OMC processes into national policymaking and evaluate the results –Develop indicators of participatory governance Timely involvement in all phases of the policy cycle (agenda setting, policy formulation, monitoring, evaluation) Two-way dialogue rather than one-way consultation Benchmark national performance & compare practices

18 18 Reinforcing linkages to EU financial support Empirical research on OMC processes in employment and social inclusion shows that their national influence is greatly reinforced by linkages to EU financial support Structural and cohesion funds should be explicitly targeted towards the EUs social as well as economic & employment objectives, with stronger monitoring/evaluation of MS spending plans and performance Use PROGRESS to support mutual learning, innovative projects, & transnational networks

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