COVID-19 has exposed and exacerbated the health inequalities across and between European Union member states. It has also raised the profile of EU health policy and the highlighted the value of European cooperation in health. Early failures to respond adequately, coupled with this increased salience, have given rise to a series of initiatives designed to strengthen and expand the EU’s role in health. This presents an opportunity to address the imbalances in the EU’s institutional and legal structure which prevent it from addressing health inequalities more effectively. Drawing on changes underway in the public health, internal market and fiscal governance elements of EU health policy, this paper explores the potential for the post-pandemic EU health policy framework to better support the reduction of health inequalities.
EU, health, COVID-19, inequalities, integration, social determinants of health
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