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How Europe can deliver: Optimising the division of competences among the EU and its member states


  • Weiss, Stefani
  • Heinemann, Friedrich
  • Berger, Melissa
  • Harendt, Christoph
  • Moessinger, Marc-Daniel
  • Schwab, Thomas


This study aims to give guidance for a better-performing EU through an improved allocation of competences between the European Union and its member states. The study analyses eight specific policies from a wide range of fields with respect to their preferable assignment. The analysis applies a unified quantified approach and is precise in its definition of "counterfactuals". These counterfactuals are understood as conceptual alternatives to the allocation of competences under the status quo. As such, they either relate to a new European competence (if the policy is currently a national responsibility) or a new national competence (if the policy is currently assigned to the EU). The comprehensive, quantification-based assessments indicate that it would be preferable to have responsibility for higher education and providing farmers with income support at the national level. Conversely, a shift of competences to the EU level would be advantageous when it comes to asylum policies, defence, corporate taxation, development aid and a (complementary) unemployment insurance scheme in the euro area. For one policy - railway freight transport - the findings are indeterminate. Overall, the study recommends a differentiated integration strategy comprising both new European policies and a roll-back of EU competences in other fields.

Suggested Citation

  • Weiss, Stefani & Heinemann, Friedrich & Berger, Melissa & Harendt, Christoph & Moessinger, Marc-Daniel & Schwab, Thomas, 2017. "How Europe can deliver: Optimising the division of competences among the EU and its member states," ZEW Expertises, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research, number 179116, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:zewexp:179116

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Alberto Alesina & Filipe R. Campante & Guido Tabellini, 2008. "Why is Fiscal Policy Often Procyclical?," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 6(5), pages 1006-1036, September.
    2. Philippe Aghion & David Hemous & Enisse Kharroubi, 2009. "Credit Constraints, Cyclical Fiscal Policy and Industry Growth," NBER Working Papers 15119, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Philippe Aghion & Peter Howitt, 2006. "Joseph Schumpeter Lecture Appropriate Growth Policy: A Unifying Framework," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 4(2-3), pages 269-314, 04-05.
    4. De Grauwe, Paul & Ji, Yuemei, 2013. "The Legacy of Austerity in the Eurozone," CEPS Papers 8472, Centre for European Policy Studies.
    5. repec:hrv:faseco:34729976 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Mathias Dolls & Clemens Fuest & Dirk Neumann & Andreas Peichl, 2018. "An unemployment insurance scheme for the euro area? A comparison of different alternatives using microdata," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 25(1), pages 273-309, February.
    7. Sebastian Dullien & Ferdinand Fichtner, 2012. "Eine gemeinsame Arbeitslosenversicherung für den Euroraum," DIW Wochenbericht, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research, vol. 79(44), pages 9-15.
    8. Alan J. Auerbach & Daniel R. Feenberg, 2000. "The Significance of Federal Taxes as Automatic Stabilizers," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 14(3), pages 37-56, Summer.
    9. Beblavý, Miroslav & Maselli, Ilaria, 2014. "An Unemployment Insurance Scheme for the Euro Area: A simulation exercise of two options," CEPS Papers 9889, Centre for European Policy Studies.
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    1. repec:ces:ifosdt:v:71:y:2018:i:12:p:03-26 is not listed on IDEAS

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