Intended for healthcare professionals


A new European health strategy

BMJ 2000; 321 doi: (Published 01 July 2000) Cite this as: BMJ 2000;321:6

Offers many opportunities, but can it be implemented?

  1. Elias Mossialos, director,
  2. Martin McKee, professor of European public health
  1. LSE Health, London School of Economics and Political Science, London WC2A 2AE
  2. London School of Hygiene and tropical Medicine, London WC1E 7HT

    The relation between the United Kingdom and the European Union continues to divide both of Britain's main political parties. The major controversy is whether or not Britain should join the single European currency, but the economic debate hides a deeper concern about national sovereignty and, in particular, the extent to which “Europe” can decide policy that is binding in the United Kingdom. A lack of understanding of the nature and scope of European law has provided a fertile ground for fantastic speculation about what the European Commission would or would not like to do.1 Health policy has been especially vulnerable to misinterpretation, in part because the decision making process is especially complicated.

    Firstly, although Romano Prodi, the president of the commission, has created a directorate for health and consumer protection, with primary responsibility for health matters, many …

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