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How to successfully transfer 'Good Practices' between cities.

At the heart of the principle of the transnational exchange of ‘Good Practice’ across cities within Europe, sits a concept which is known as the open method of coordination (OMC).

This principle, which is a form of ‘soft’ inter-governmental policy-making, was originally created in the 1990s as part of the Luxembourg process and defined as an instrument of the Lisbon strategy, in 2000.

The open method of coordination largely operates separately from the (much more binding) process of law making within Europe, by providing a framework for cooperation between EU member states, enabling them to adapt and direct their national policies towards certain common objectives.

Under this intergovernmental method of collaboration, cities (regions and member states) generally work together by jointly identifying and defining objectives to be achieved; jointly establishing measuring instruments; benchmarking; and exchanging best practices.

However, just because the process of transnational exchange and learning is more informal than binding legislation, doesn’t mean it can’t benefit from the adoption of a systematic approach. Indeed, there is an argument to be had for further formalising the process, to better understand ‘what works and doesn’t work’.

It would be wrong to underestimate how challenging the transnational implementation of ‘Good Practice’ actually is.

For example, data from Interreg IVC (which places a strong emphasis on ‘learning by sharing’) would suggest that only 151 of 2835 (or 5.3 per cent) of ‘good practices’ were actually transferred to a region in another country.

This white paper is intended to help anyone thinking about trying to transfer ‘Good Practices’ between cities in different member states, by considering the main issues that will help them to successfully transfer ‘Good Practices’ to partner cities.


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