The study was written in the context of Europe’s multiple crises. In the eyes of many voters, the performance of the EU has been disappointing in the aftermath of the economic and euro area debt crisis. The decision of the United Kingdom to leave the Union has drastically demonstrates this dissatisfaction. Against this background, the study aims to provide guidance for a better-performing EU through an improved division of competences between the European Union and its member states. The study shows were more integration would lead to a better provision of public goods and thereby to – hopefully - greater acceptance with the European citizens and where, in turn, member states would reach better results.
The case studies cover eight specific policies from a wide range of fields with respect to their preferable assignment. 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.