The "open method of co-ordination" (OMC) provides an innovative instrument to support the Member States in moving towards agreed EU objectives and to exchange best practice in the areas of employment, social protection and social inclusion. Within this coordination framework, the definition of the appropriate means and ways to achieve the agreed objectives is left to the Member States, respecting thus their competences in these fields.

Results indicate that the OMC is working as a catalyst bringing about important policy developments throughout Europe. The OMC has become a core instrument driving the Lisbon Strategy for growth and jobs. To enhance the strategy's approach of mutually reinforcing economic, employment and social policies, the co-ordination structures on economic and employment policy reform have recently been integrated and work to streamline the OMCs on social protection and social inclusion is ongoing.  [extract]