by Karl Aiginger
New challenges can only be overcome internationally. If small countries want to play a role, the European level needs to be consolidated. However, if common solutions are poorly communicated or if there is too much interference in national priorities and individual living conditions, they will be rejected as edicts from Brussels and a return to national solutions will be demanded. In extreme cases, this can lead to exits from the EU; even if this fails to contribute to solving the problem and actually further reduces the available options and the prospects of success.
We highlight that Europe-wide regulations can actually lead to a greater scope of action at the national level. Innovative, problem-specific solutions can be developed based on national priorities due to the fact that international restrictions and leakage effects are eliminated. We demonstrate this in the case of tax regimes, fiscal and climate policy, and for globalization. Best practice examples of European policy which provided funds not feasible at the national level, but at the same time increased the options at the regional or national level and which were moreefficient, can be found in the EU‟s regional and research policies. From these, we derive principles for overcoming the contradiction which currently prevails between the need for common rules and the desire for decentralized solutions on the regional or national levels.