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Telling stories about European Union Health Law: The emergence of a new field of law

Comparative European Politics Aims and scope

Abstract

The ideational narrative power of law has now solidified, and continues to solidify, ‘European Union health law’, into an entity with a distinctive legal identity. EU health law was previously seen as either non-existent, or so broad as to be meaningless, or as existing only in relations between EU law and health (the ‘and’ approach), or as consisting of a body of barely or loosely connected policy domains (the ‘patchwork’ approach). The process of bringing EU health law into being is a process of narration. The ways in which EU health law is narrated (and continues to be narrated) involve three main groups of actors: the legislature, courts and the academy.

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Notes

  1. I note the self-reflexive nature of this article, in that I am very much part of the academy on which the article reflects.

  2. In this regard, the notion of ‘legislature’ departs from its traditional meaning of a network of actors constitutionally empowered to adopt laws within a legal system.

  3. Technically, if the EU institutions were to adopt legislation or take decisions contrary to the mainstreaming principle, those measures would be subject to judicial review under Articles 263 or 267 TFEU. In fact, the CJEU has never held a measure to be contrary to the public health ‘mainstreaming’ duty, and I am unaware of any judicial review claim brought against the EU’s institutions, agencies or bodies, on the basis that an EU law or policy failed to ensure a high level of health protection. One staff case, Case F-64/06 S v European Parliament OJ C 199 from 25.08.2007, p. 53; removed from the register OJ C 223 from 30.08.2008, p. 63, which settled out of court, included the argument that a reassignment in the place of work from Rome to Brussels of an ill person constituted a breach of Article 35 EUCFR.

  4. This might well be the case for many other areas of EU law, for instance EU external relations law.

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Acknowledgements

The author would like to thank the editors; participants at Patients’ Rights in the European Union, Department of Political Science, University of Copenhagen, October 2014; and her colleagues Pablo Castillo-Ortiz and Paul James Cardwell. The usual disclaimer applies.

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Hervey, T. Telling stories about European Union Health Law: The emergence of a new field of law. Comp Eur Polit 15, 352–369 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1057/cep.2016.4

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