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Research agenda

1. The fiscal capacity of the EU in comparative perspective

This research investigates patterns and determinants of the EU’s fiscal capacity, i.e. the ability to collect and spend resources. It zooms on the sources of revenue of the European budget with the aim to understand what prevents the EU to get an autonomous fiscal capacity (including a power of direct taxation) that coexists with the autonomous fiscal capacity of the Member States. This research is twofold comparative: 

  • Diachronic: how has the EU’s fiscal capacity changed from the euro crisis to the COVID-19 pandemic?

  • Federal: how and why have different federal systems developed a central fiscal capacity?

Monograph in preparation:

Zgaga, T. The Fiscal Trajectory of the European Union in Comparative Perspective. Updated book proposal departing from the PhD dissertation.

​2. The differentiated implementation (customisation) of EU fiscal rules

This research asks: how and why do EU member states change EU's fiscal rules (in terms of content) when implementing them?

Current project:

"EU versus core state powers: the customization of EU fiscal policies" (with Prof. Dr. Eva Thomann)

3. Literal compliance with EU fiscal rules

This research asks: how and why do EU member states transpose EU fiscal rules with virtually no substantial change (in terms of both content and amount of rules) (literal compliance)

Current project:

"Literal compliance with EU fiscal policy: why the unlikely happens" (with Prof. Dr. Eva Thomann)

4. The relationship between the legal tool (form) and the content (substance) of EU fiscal rules

This research asks: how and why do MS opt for a certain combination of bindingness (form) and restrictiveness (substance) when complying with EU fiscal rules?

Current project:

"Form or substance? Understanding member states’ compliance with EU fiscal policies" 

5. Sovereignism and differentiated (dis)integration in the EU

This research asks: investigates EU member states’ nationalism in the post-Brexit period (2016-2021). It conceptualizes such nationalism as sovereignism, i.e. the attempt to bring a number of policies delegated to the EU "back home" without pushing for exiting the EU, and explores causes, facets and implications. 

Research conducted with Prof. Dr. Sergio Fabbrini 


4. Determinants of corruption in public administration in times of crisis

This research explores determinants of “mask scandals” - uncovered instances of corruption the public procurement of PPE - during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic. It covers all 27 EU MS. 

Future project (2023-2025): 

"COVICORR: Comparing Mask Scandals in 27 European Union Member States" (with Prof. Dr. Eva Thomann)



5. Accountability in the European Council from the COVID-19 pandemic to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine

This research focusses on the European Council’s "executive accountability" in three macro-areas of core state powers: Economic and Monetary Union (EMU), Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) and Justice and Home Affairs (JHA).

Research conducted with Andrea Capati and Dora Hegedus


European Commission, Brussels. Copyright: Aurore Martignoni; see here.

Federated states.png

Federated states (green) in the world. Copyright: see here


© brunobarillari –, see here.

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