The COVID-19 pandemic: Failing forward in public health

Scott L. Greer*, Anniek de Ruijter, Eleanor Brooks

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Although most governments were heavily scrutinized and looked bad early in the COVID-19 pandemic, the EU was most noticeable for its absence. This might seem strange, for an institution whose public health role has been forged through crisis—from the thalidomide tragedy and the scandal of HIV-infected blood supplies, to “mad cow disease” and the underwhelming H1N1 influenza pandemic. A closer review of the EU’s health governance, however, reveals it to have performed exactly as expected and intended. An initial phase of disorganization and national egotism, unavoidable given that member states have historically restricted the EU’s health capacities, has been followed by a substantial new health policy agenda and a reinforcement of the EU’s market- and fiscal-based health influence. This is leading, we posit, to further integration.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Palgrave Handbook of EU Crises
EditorsMarianne Riddervold, Jarle Trondal, Akasemi Newsome
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)9783030517915
ISBN (Print)9783030517908
Publication statusPublished - 22 Dec 2020

Publication series

NamePalgrave Studies in European Union Politics
ISSN (Print)2662-5873
ISSN (Electronic)2662-5881


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