Research Handbook on EU Health Law and Policy
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Research Handbook on EU Health Law and Policy

Edited by Tamara K. Hervey, Calum A. Young and Louise E. Bishop

The steady expansion of the European Union’s involvement in health over the past 20 years has been accelerated by recent events. This handbook offers an up-to-date analytical overview of the most important topics in EU health law and policy. It outlines, as far as possible, the direction of travel for each topic and suggests research agenda(s) for the future.
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Chapter 19: The impediment of health laws’ values in the constitutional setting of the EU

Anniek de Ruijter


The book concludes with Anniek de Ruijter’s powerful discussion of the values of solidarity, universal access, equality and human dignity, in the context of EU health law and policy. de Ruijter assesses the extent to which such values are – and could ever be – promulgated through EU Health Law and Policy, given the EU’s constitutional arrangements. She argues that the EU’s infamous ‘constitutional asymmetry’ leaves solidarity, universal access, equality and human dignity – more often than not – in a non-equal relationship with free trade, free competition, competitiveness, the knowledge economy and above all, fiscal austerity. Fundamental human rights represent a possible future site for constitutional realignment, allowing ‘the constitutional order of the EU to be changed or set up in a manner in which EU health law’s values will not have to compete so hard with EU economic values’. This is – at present – the ‘road not taken’ by the EU and its health law and policy.

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