UDC 616.98:578.834]:339.923(4-672EU)
Biblid: 0025-8555, 73(2021)
Vol. 73, No 2, pp. 214-234
DOI: https://doi.org/10.2298/MEDJP2102214R

Оriginal article
Received: 16 Jun 2021
Accepted: 28 Jun 2021


RADIĆ MILOSAVLJEVIĆ Ivana (Assistant Professor at the University of Belgrade – Faculty of Political Science, Belgrade.), ivana.radic@fpn.bg.ac.rs

By looking into the case of the latest EU health policy reforms, the author analyses whether the European integration theories are equipped for an explanation of integration outcomes during the Covid-19 pandemic. The author primarily considers theories that hypothesise crises as a critical factor in integration dynamics, i.e., neofunctionalism and post-functionalism. In the last decade, multiple crises have been hitting the European Union (EU), and there have been many attempts to theorise their impact on European integration. Nevertheless, the answers are far from clear-cut regarding whether crises have been beneficial or detrimental to further integration, either in terms of its scope (widening the EU policy areas and/or membership) or level (increasing the EU institutions\\\' competences and/or capacities). After analysing how the crisis has been handled and the reforms taken in the health policy sector, the author concludes that post-functionalist expectations about the crisis triggering Euroscepticism and identity-driven mass politicisation, thereby precluding further integration, have not materialised so far. On the contrary, the Covid-19 crisis has led to an increase in the EU\\\'s capacities in some essential policy sectors. Health policy is one. So far, this policy has seen reforms that neofunctionalism would call a build-up – a transfer of more authority to supranational institutions without expanding its formal mandate. As neofunctionalism would expect, the coronavirus crisis triggered an elite politicisation that created an environment conducive to further integration rather than disintegrative outcomes.

Keywords: crisis, Covid-19, European Union, integration, neofunctionalism, postfunctionalism, politicisation, health policy