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Keywords:

  • European Union;
  • governance;
  • health;
  • Open Method of Coordination

Abstract

In the face of “permanent welfare austerity,” the European Union (EU) is increasingly involved in the governance of health care through various “new governance” tools. This development coincides with a growing interest in modernization of welfare, including health care. One of the fundamental critiques of new governance in the EU context concerns the (perceived) inability of new governance to protect the “social” against the “market” in Europe’s constitutional settlement. Using multi-level governance and constructivist approaches, this article considers whether the EU’s governance of health care via the “Open Method of Coordination” advances a neo-liberal agenda of health care modernization.