Virtual Visions of Europe #1

Public health: Diversity and (non-)coordination

In this first edition of VVE experts discuss the procurement and distribution of medical supplies, and their implications for free movement and border controls within the EU. Should the EU play a bigger role/be given stronger powers, and if so of what sort?

About the speakers

Maria Weimer is Associate Professor of European Law at the UvA Law Faculty, Amsterdam Centre for European Law and Governance. Her research focuses on exploring the potential of law and governance to address urgent environmental, health and safety risks arising from the operation of modern agri-food systems, as well as to enable the transition to sustainable food and agricultural systems. She wrote Risk Regulation in the EU Internal Market – Lessons from Agricultural Biotechnology (Oxford University Press )and is deputy editor-in-chief of the European Journal of Risk Regulation (Cambridge University Press).

Anniek de Ruijter is Associate Professor of European Law at the UvA Law Faculty, Amsterdam Centre for European Law and Governance. Her research focuses on the impact of transnational health law, policy, and risk regulation for individual rights and constitutional protections. In 2017, Anniek received the Veni Award of the NWO for a research project on improving the EU constitutional order for responding to human health disasters such as pandemics or bioterrorist attacks.

Alessio Pacces is Professor of Law and Finance at the UvA Law Faculty and Amsterdam Business School, Amsterdam Center for Law and Economics. Prior to entering academia, he worked at the research department of the Bank of Italy and at the Italian Securities Authority (Consob). Alessio’s research focuses on the economic analysis of corporate law and financial regulation.

Scott Greer is Professor of Health Management and Policy, Global Public Health, and Political Science at the University of Michigan. He is also Senior Expert Advisor on Health Governance for the European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies. He researches the politics of health policies, with a special focus on the politics and policies of the EU and the impact of federalism on health care. His most recent books include Federalism and Decentralization in European Health and Social Care (2013), European Union Public Health Policies (2013), Civil Society and Health (2017) and Federalism and Social Policy (2018).

Jonathan Zeitlin (moderator) is Distinguished Faculty Professor of Public Policy and Governance at the UvA and ACES Academic Director

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Background Virtual Visions of Europe

The current Covid-19 pandemic confronts the European Union and its member states with unprecedented challenges. Public health ‘competition’ between countries instead of cooperation, leading to the closing of borders even in the Schengen zone. An economic slump unfolding on a scale not seen since the 1930s. Ever-increasing north-south and east-west divides in Europe. These challenges come on top of the ‘polycrisis’ experienced by the EU and its member states over the past decade: first the financial and euro crises, then the refugee and migration crises, followed by Brexit, alongside rising euroskepticism and attacks on the rule of law in a growing number of member states.  At the same time, the global order within which the EU operates is increasingly challenged by the hostility of nationalist leaders such as Putin and Trump, but also the re-positioning of China in global affairs.

How will the European Union emerge from this crisis? Will the Union come out stronger, with a larger budget, more powers to coordinate public health measures, and reinforced solidarity within the Eurozone? Or will the EU’s inability to reach agreement and take the lead on critical issues in fighting Covid-19 result in a long-term weakening of its internal authority and external influence, or even a full-scale collapse of the European project, as Emmanuel Macron has warned?

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