Division of Competences between the EU and the Member States

Timeframe: Completed
Project manager: Fredrik Langdal

In connection with the conclusions reached at the meeting of the European Council in Nice in 2000, it was stated that a clearer distribution of decision-making powers between the EU and its member states should be discussed.

A catalogue of competences defines who, or which level, has the authority to make decisions on specific matters. Up to now, EU has applied the principle of subsidiarity in order to determine which level that has the competence to make decisions, which has lead led to a situation where competence and power in given issue areas are spread across different levels of government, and shared between different actors. The purpose of this project was to satisfy the need for an overview of problems related to matters of assigning decision-making powers specifically in respect to:

  • accountability;
  • predictability; and
  • effectiveness in countering centralisation.


Phase 1 was completed autumn of 2002.
The paper "The division of competences between the EU and the Member States - Towards a better one?" was presented at a hearing 15 October 2002.

Phase 2 of the project was completed spring of 2003 and was part of the project "Strategi 2004". A report on the division of competences between the EU and the Member States with a focus on the proposals of the Convention on the Future of Europe was presented at a seminar 10 April 2003.