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Hard and Soft Law in the European Union: The case of Social policy and the Open Method of Coordination

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  • Luca Barani

Abstract

The European integrative experiment rests on a dynamic equilibrium of intergovernmental and supranational features of the regulatory framework of the European Union. One of the most important challenges to this system currently lies in finding ways to maintain its capacity to operate and, at the same time, adapt its problem-solving instruments to changing conditions of the regulatory politics. The current pragmatic mix of regulative strategies employed in the European Union allows for different possible scenarios concerning future development of the regulatory system within the EU. The article analyses the emergence and proliferation of new forms of decision-making and related legal techniques in the European Union. The origins and possible trajectory of a whole spectrum of contemporary legal techniques and governance methods, ranging from 'hard' to 'soft', are being contextualized. Special attention is given to the Open Method of Coordination and examples of its application in the social policy field.

Suggested Citation

  • Luca Barani, 2006. "Hard and Soft Law in the European Union: The case of Social policy and the Open Method of Coordination," The Constitutionalism Web-Papers p0011, University of Hamburg, Faculty for Economics and Social Sciences, Department of Social Sciences, Institute of Political Science.
  • Handle: RePEc:erp:conweb:p0011
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    Keywords

    regulatory politics; rule of law; social policy;
    All these keywords.

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