The open method of co-ordination and national parliaments: Further marginalization or new opportunities?

Publication Title

Journal of European Public Policy

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Department or Program


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Democratic representation, Executive federalism, Legislative insights, National parliaments, Open method of co-ordination, Soft law


Legislatures are central to national democracy. Yet, scholars examining the impact of the EU on national parliaments have concluded that integration undermines domestic legislatures. We call for a more nuanced analysis. We turn to the EU's new forms of governance and, specifically, the OMC. Our analysis reveals a complex picture. On the one hand, with regard to participation, by empowering governments through executive federalism the OMC risks further marginalizing national parliaments. On the other hand, when we consider its output, the OMC provides national legislators with opportunities that the traditional Community method of legislation cannot offer. First, the OMC gives national legislators access to insights and tools for producing successful laws. Second, the OMC gives those legislators grounds for criticizing the policies of government officials. The empirical record suggests that some of these contradictory effects are already at work. The conclusion reflects on whether national parliaments should, or if given the opportunity would in fact, opt to participate in the OMC.


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