When learning hits politics or: Social policy coordination left to the administrations and the NGOs?

Sandra Kröger


Processes of soft policy coordination in the EU and of Europeanization have in recent years mostly been conceptualised in terms of learning. The OMC is mostly seen as inducing ideational, cognitive and possibly normative learning between member states. However, the generalised learning assumption stands in sharp constrast with the little amount of empirical evidence provided so far by scholarly research. This contribution addresses the learning assumption by looking at two empirical processes of the OMC inclusion: the drawing-up of the National Action Plans (NAPs) in France and Germany, and the place of learning within this OMC, the peer reviews, in order to evaluate whether minimal conditions for supranational learning dynamics were given.
The results show that minimal conditions for supranational learning processes were not met in both member states nor within the context of the peer reviews. While this can to some degree be explained by institutional differences, the main explaining variable appears to be the lack of political will: at the domestic level, this lack hinders a synchronisation of the European and national agendas while at the European level, the same lack stands in the way of further positive integration.


social policy, governance, open coordination, France, Germany, political science

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