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European cooperation: the Open Method of Coordination

What is it about?

The European Commission fosters cooperation with individual countries within the European Union, in addition to working with countries outside the EU and international organisations.

Nationally, the European Commission cooperates with Member States to develop proposals for cooperation between EU countries or define policy on a European level. This form of cooperation is referred to as the Open Method of Coordination (OMC).

Why is it needed?

The OMC was first introduced in the field of culture in  2008. This was based on a proposal made by the Commission in the European Agenda for Culture.

The OMC is a light but structured way EU Member States use to cooperate at European level in the field of culture. The OMC creates a common understanding of problems and helps to build consensus on solutions and their practical implementation, without regulatory instruments. Added value is created by addressing common responses to problems that are supra-national.

They agree on the themes on which the OMC should focus every four years under the Work Plan for Culture. The current Work Plan covered 2011-2014, and a new one is currently being negotiated.    

There have been ten culture OMC groups since 2008, working on important issues such as:

  • Mobility of Culture Professionals
  • Mobility Support Programmes
  • Artists' Residencies 
  • Promotion of Creative Partnerships
What is the Commission's role?

The Commission is responsible for managing the OMC, as well as representing the interests of the EU at an international level.

Under the OMC, national authorities appoint representatives and individuals to be part of specialised working groups. These working groups, specialising in specific sectors, provide input in the form of reports and studies to better tailor the Commission's approach to dealing with priorities in the culture sector.

What has been achieved so far?

To date, the OMC working groups have produced a variety of good practice manuals, including: 

What are the next steps?

The EU Member States are currently evaluating the results of the OMC work and negotiating the Work Plan for Culture beyond 2014.