EU health law and policy in and after the COVID-19 crisis

European Journal of Public Health | 08 July, 2020
Authors: Scott Greer, Anniek de Ruijter

The very first shock of COVID-19 might beover, but the crisis continues. We have already learned much about what the European Union can and cannot do to help its Member States and peoples manage the crisis—and what it might be able to do better.1

The EU’s contribution to fighting COVID-19 was initially limited because member states wanted it so. From a treaty article on public health that carefully limits EU competencies, to legislation that avoids authorizing forceful EU action, to a budget that puts little money into health and has no health emergencies line at all, the EU’s member states have made it clear that they want the EU to be a limited actor. It can meet zoonoses with forceful action, but once they become human diseases the EU is hamstrung.2 Public health is a strange place to rein in European integration, for everything we know about the movement of diseases, animals and people show that there already is European public health.

Read more