Everything you always wanted to know about European Union health policies but were afraid to ask

Scott L. Greer*, Sarah Rozenblum, Nick Fahy, Eleanor Brooks, Holly Jarman, Anniek de Ruijter, Willy Palm, Matthias Wismar

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Book/ReportBook

Abstract / Description of output

What does the European Union mean for health? What can it mean for health?

This comprehensively revised third edition answers these questions. It provides a broad and up-to-date review and analysis of European Union public health policies. It begins by explaining the basic politics of European integration and European policy-making in health, including the basic question of how the European Union (EU) came to have a health policy and what that policy does. Thereafter, it moves on to the three faces of European Union health policy.

The first face is explicit health policy, both public health policy and policies to strengthen health services and systems in areas such as cancer, and communicable diseases. The second face is internal market building policies, which are often more consequential for health services, but are not made with health as a core objective. These include professional and patient mobility, regulation of insurers and health care providers, and competition in health care. They also include some of the policies through which the EU has had dramatic and positive health effects, namely environmental regulation, consumer protection and labour law. The third face is fiscal governance, in which the EU institutions police member state decisions, including relating to health.

Each face has different politics, law, policy, and health effects. The book provides a synthesis of the different faces and the different ways in which they have been used to strengthen or weaken public health and health systems in Europe. It shows the many, often unappreciated, ways that the EU has worked for health, as well as the opportunities to further strengthen the EU's positive impact on health.

This book is aimed at policy-makers and students of health systems in the EU who seek to understand how the influence of the EU on health policy affects those systems and their patients. To ensure that the EU’s impact on health is wholly positive, the wider health community must understand and engage with the EU in the future – something this book aims to encourage.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationUnited Kingdom
PublisherWHO Regional Office for Europe
Number of pages290
ISBN (Print)9789289059022
Publication statusPublished - 13 May 2022


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