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Open Method of Coordination: A New Stepping Stone in the Legal Order of International and European Relations

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The open method of coordination is characterised by the combined use of modes of governance and soft law instruments, a combination that is uncommon since they usually are sequentially related to each other: governance leads to soft law. The focus of this paper is therefore on the significance of this combined use for the position of the OMC in the legal order of international and European relations. To determine the OMC's position, the paper first substantiates the soft law aspects of the ideal-type OMC, based on the international relations concept of legalisation, an ideal-type European Community law and the terminology of the gap-thesis. Furthermore, the paper examines the internal and external functioning of the OMC, the latter having focus on, in particular, its relations with Community hard law. The paper concludes by showing that the OMC adds in two ways a new stepping stone into the legal order of international and European relations.

Affiliations: 1: Ph.D. Candidate, Faculty of Law, Leiden University, Leiden, The Netherlands;


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