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Publication . Article . Preprint . 2020

Towards a European Health Union

Alberto Alemanno;
Open Access
Published: 02 Dec 2020
Publisher: HAL CCSD
Country: France

The European response to COVID-19 has revealed an inconvenient truth. Despite having integrated public health concerns across all its policies – be it agriculture, consumer protection, or security –, the Union cannot directly act to save people’s lives. Only member states can do so. Yet when they adopted unilateral measures to counter the spread of the virus, those proved not only ineffective but also disruptive on vital supply chains, by ultimately preventing the flow of essential goods and people across the Union. These fragmented efforts in tackling cross-border health threats have almost immediately prompted political calls for the urgent creation of a European Health Union. Yet this call raises more questions than answers. With the aim to offer a rigorous and timely blueprint to decision-makers and the public at large, this Special Issue of the European Journal of Risk Regulation contextualizes such a new political project within the broader constitutional and institutional framework of EU public health law and policy. By introducing the Special, this paper argues that unless the envisaged Health Union will tackle the root causes of what prevented the Union from effectively responding to COVID-19 – the divergent health capacity across the Union –, it might fall short of its declared objective of strengthening the EU’resilience for cross-border health threats.

Subjects by Vocabulary

Microsoft Academic Graph classification: Public health medicine.medical_specialty medicine Supply chain Consumer protection Economic policy Public health law Blueprint Politics Agriculture business.industry business Political science Risk regulation Public administration Health law Precautionary principle European union media_common.cataloged_instance media_common


Health law, EU health, European Union, Risk Regulation, EU law, COVID-19, Coronavirus, Suppression, Precautionary principle, Cost-benefit analysis, Emergency Regulation, Worst-case scenarios, Risk vs risk, tradeoffs, JEL: K - Law and Economics/K.K3 - Other Substantive Areas of Law, JEL: K - Law and Economics/K.K3 - Other Substantive Areas of Law/K.K3.K32 - Environmental, Health, and Safety Law, JEL: K - Law and Economics/K.K3 - Other Substantive Areas of Law/K.K3.K33 - International Law, [SHS.GESTION]Humanities and Social Sciences/Business administration, Safety Research, Law

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