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HERA-lding more integration in health? Examining the discursive legitimation of the European Commission’s new Health Emergency preparedness and Response Authority

Godziewski, C. ORCID: 0000-0002-7036-2387 & Rushton, S. (2024). HERA-lding more integration in health? Examining the discursive legitimation of the European Commission’s new Health Emergency preparedness and Response Authority. Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law,

Abstract

Context: Since COVID-19, the European Commission (EC) has sought to expand its activities in health through the development of a 'European Health Union' and within it, the Health Emergencies Preparedness and Response Authority (HERA).

Methods: We applied a discourse analysis on documents establishing HERA to investigate how the creation of this institution was legitimated by the EC. We focused on how it framed health emergencies; how it framed the added value of HERA; and how it linked HERA to existing EU activities and priorities.

Findings: Our analysis demonstrates that security-based logics have been central to the EC’s legitimation of HERA – in alignment with a ‘securitization of health’ occurring worldwide in recent decades. This legitimation can be understood as part of the EC’s effort to promote future integration in health in the absence of new competencies.

Conclusions: Securitization has helped the EC raise its profile in health politically, without additional competencies, thereby laying the groundwork for potential future integration. Looking at the discursive legitimation of HERA sheds light not only on whether the EC is expanding its health powers, but also how it strategizes to do so. HERA, while constrained, allows the EC to further deepen security-driven integration in health.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: For the purpose of open access, the author has applied a Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) licence to any Author Accepted Manuscript version arising from this submission.
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
J Political Science > JN Political institutions (Europe)
Q Science > QR Microbiology > QR180 Immunology
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
Departments: School of Policy & Global Affairs
School of Policy & Global Affairs > International Politics
SWORD Depositor:
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