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Learning in the OMC: opportunities and limits in the Mutual Learning Programme(MLP) of the EES.

Sebastiano Sabato
European Social Observatory (OSE)
Sebastiano Sabato
European Social Observatory (OSE)
Open Panel

Abstract

Scholars who dealt with the OMC from a “Europeanization” perspective have identified different mechanisms of influence through which EU policies can influence the national levels. “Learning” is one of them. The aim of this paper is first to analyze the MLP, that is the “locus” where phenomena of learning are supposed to develop in the EES and, second, to discuss learning opportunities which potentially emerge from this process and its limits. I will first carefully “reconstruct”- through documents’ analysis and in-depth interviews to the actors- the MLP: the activities carried out, the evolution of the procedures, the characteristics and the role of actors involved (EU officials, colsuntancies’ staff, national government representatives and independent experts, stakeholders). Second, confronting the results of this reconstruction with the academic literature on organizational learning, policy learning and policy transfer, I will discuss the opportunities (and the limits) for learning and policy transfer that could arise from the MLP. For sure, although it is the principal one, the MLP is not the only element of the EES that could produce “learning”: consequently, in this paper, also other constitutive elements of the strategy will be considered. However, being OMCs complex processes and being Europeanization processes methodologically difficult to analyze, to “break down” OMCs in their constitutive elements -carefully defining their features, their potentiality and their limits- is the necessary, preliminary, step if one want to empirically assess the possible influence of OMCs on national levels and uncover and “trace” the causal pathways through which it can develop.