European Research at ZEW

Until today, the European integration project delivers great political and economic benefits to Europeans. Events such as the euro debt crisis and Brexit, however, have raised the question to which extent the EU and its current structures are still fit for the future. ZEW wants to contribute its research and knowledge to the understanding of different reform options. For example, we develop models for an appropriate and intelligent harmonisation of European tax policies. Moreover, ZEW researchers are asking, how the eurozone could be made crisis-proof. A further key topic on our research agenda is the European budget and how it should be structured in the future so that it creates a genuine European added value on fields such as climate protection, migration policy, and security.

Friedrich Heinemann
ZEW expert

Prof. Dr. Friedrich Heinemann

Please contact me for inquiries.
Phone: +49 (0)621 1235-149
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The EU must develop in such a way that it convincingly demonstrates its benefit to all Member States and their citizens over and over again.

ZEW Expert Friedrich Heinemann on European Research at ZEW

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We need European approaches: ZEW expert Friedrich Heinemann on our European research at ZEW (in German with English subtitles).

European Fiscal Institutions

Europe introduced the euro in 1999 as its common currency. This step towards monetary integration was initially associated with only minor adjustments in fiscal institutions. As of now, though, the euro sovereign debt crisis has revealed the weaknesses of this constellation; to date, the fiscal institutions of the eurozone remain incomplete. A key question of our research in this field is: how can fiscal responsibility and European solidarity be brought into balance?


Views of French, German and Italian Parliamentarians on EU and EMU Reforms

French, Italian and German MPs are open to granting the EU more competencies in the fields of defense and immigration policy. There is also broad agreement on giving legislative initiative to the European Parliament and on increasing national investment expenditure to boost economic growth. There is, however, considerable disagreement over certain reform proposals for the eurozone: French and Italian MPs support the implementation of new European Monetary Union (EMU) institutions such as a euro area budget and Eurobonds, while the Germans oppose them.

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New EU Competence Catalogue

The German government should start pushing for the EU to redistribute responsibilities between Brussels and the Member States. For example, responsibilities such as safeguarding farmers’ income should return to the remit of the individual countries. On the other hand, EU institutions should be assuming far greater responsibility for development aid, defence, and asylum policy.

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PEPP and PSPP: Highly Disproportionate Purchase of Italy’s and Spain’s Bonds

The Eurosystem’s bond purchases since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic deviate significantly from the ECB’s capital key in terms of their allocation among eurozone countries. Relative to the capital key, Italian government bond purchases deviated by as much as 25 per cent between March and September 2020, while Spain’s share of purchases exceeded its national capital key by eleven per cent, Belgium’s by seven per cent, and Slovenia and France’s by three per cent each.

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MannheimTaxation: Europe's Tax System of the Future

What does the tax policy of the future look like? What can our research contribute to the European and global tax integration? And how can we make the tax system ready for the economic and social challenges of our time? A joint initiative of ZEW and the University of Mannheim, The Leibniz Science Campus MannheimTaxation, deals with these questions. MannheimTaxation research is interdisciplinary, spanning the fields of economics, business administration, law, and political science.


Mannheim Tax Index

Our calculation of tax attractiveness in Europe

Further information
Virtual Annual Conference of the Leibniz ScienceCampus MannheimTaxation

Tax Systems in Times of COVID-19

How can tax systems create the right incentives for a sustainable economy and society while ensuring that government spending is sufficiently covered? These are some of the questions addressed at this year’s Annual Conference of the Leibniz ScienceCampus MannheimTaxation. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the conference, which attracted over 260 participants from all over the world, was held exclusively online for the first time.

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Country-By-Country Reporting Makes Both Tax Havens and High-Tax Countries Less Attractive

Country-by-Country Reporting (CbCR) appears to effectively curb aggressive tax avoidance of multinational corporations and leads to a significant decrease in tax haven operations. The main beneficiaries of this development, however, are European low-tax countries, to which Germany does not belong. It is mainly these low-tax countries that attract real investment from multinationals following the CbCR mandate.

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Growth, Productivity and Innovation in Europe

Europe can only be successful in pursuing its ambitious goals in areas such as social policy, ecology and international development if it has a sound economic basis. Against this background, ZEW aims to contribute its research and knowledge of the subject to a better understanding of the determinants of innovation, start-up processes, and entrepreneurship. ZEW thus positions itself as a policy advisor on innovation and technology issues at the national and European level.

ZEW Indicator of Economic Sentiment

Economic Development of the Eurozone Decreased Again

The financial market experts’ sentiment concerning the economic development of the eurozone decreased for the fifth consecutive time, bringing the indicator to a current level of 21.0 points, 10.1 points lower than in the previous month. The indicator for the current economic situation in the eurozone fell 6.6 points to a level of 15.9 points compared to September. Inflation expectations for the eurozone fell slightly. The inflation indicator stands at 17.1 points in October, 3.0 points lower than in the previous month. However, 49.1 per cent of the experts still expect the inflation rate to rise further in the next six months.

Read more on the economic expectations

ZEW project

Growth Welfare Innovation and Productivity

Well before the Great Recession, the strikingly successful socio-economic regime of growth of the three decades after WWII came to an end as the smooth matching among technological innovation, productivity growth, income distribution and aggregate demand increasingly broke down. However, a new virtuous regime is hardly emerging and growth of income and productivity remains sluggish especially in Europe. Our project GROWINPRO has the goal of delivering a set of policy solutions aimed at restoring sustained and inclusive growth

Read more about GROWINPRO


New Perspectives in European Innovation Policy

Innovation is essential for economic growth and governments must encourage firms to increase their investments in innovation. Europe is losing ground to its main Asian competitors when it comes to R&D investment and is barely keeping pace with the U.S. Moreover, the rate of return on innovation has become significantly weaker in Europe. This has been caused by its relative lack of innovative SMEs, the slow diffusion of innovation, and the increasingly competitive innovation marketplace. In this light, scholars and policy makers are arguing for a new approach to European innovation policy that puts more weight on the development of disruptive innovation and on the diffusion of new technologies throughout the market.

Read more in our ZEW policy brief 18-07

ZEW President

Achim Wambach

Europe is the answer for many of the current economic challenges; European added value can only be developed together.