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Hard and Soft Law in the Construction of Social Europe: the Role of the Open Method of Co-ordination

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The debate over the Open Method of Co-ordination has reopened discussion of the role of ‘soft law’ in the process of European integration. This paper outlines the debate over the relative value of hard and soft law in EU social policy, explores the operation of non-binding objectives and guidelines in the European Employment Strategy, suggests a number of reasons why ‘soft law’ might be effective in this area, and explores the possibility for productive combination of hard and soft law measures.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: May 1, 2005

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