IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

On the Optimal Assignment of Competences in a Multi-Level Governed European Union


  • Breuss, Fritz
  • Eller, Markus


This paper surveys the theoretical and empirical research on the efficient assignment of policy tasks to different levels of government and applies the results on the delimitation of competences within the European Union. The main results are: (i) A precise derivation of an optimal degree of decentralisation is not possible because of mixed theoretical suggestions. The adequate degree of decentralisation has to be detected case-by-case. (ii) Systematic evidence on direct relationships between economic performance and fiscal decentralisation is ambiguous and scarce. (iii) Comparing the actual and prospective delimitation of EU-competences with the normative recommendations, remarkable discrepancies arise in the fields of agriculture and defence. (iv) The establishment of a flexible assignment-scheme is an undeniable necessity in order to guarantee reversibility and to cope efficiently with changing general conditions. In this respect, the European Convention has delivered insufficient results in its final draft Treaty as of July 2003.

Suggested Citation

  • Breuss, Fritz & Eller, Markus, 2003. "On the Optimal Assignment of Competences in a Multi-Level Governed European Union," European Integration online Papers (EIoP), European Community Studies Association Austria (ECSA-A), vol. 7, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:erp:eiopxx:p0100

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    File Function: Abstract
    Download Restriction: no

    File URL:
    File Function: Full text
    Download Restriction: no

    File URL:
    File Function: Full text
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Scharpf, Fritz W., 1996. "Economic integration, democracy and the welfare state," MPIfG Working Paper 96/2, Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:erp:eiopxx:p0100. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Editorial Assistant). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.