Pandemic Legislation in the European Union: Fit for Purpose? The Need for a Systematic Comparison of National Laws
Speakman EM, et al. Pandemic legislation in the European Union: Fit for purpose? The need for a systematic comparison of national laws. Health Policy (2017), doi/10.1016/j.healthpol.2017.08.009
9 Pages Posted: 21 Sep 2017 Last revised: 9 Oct 2017
Date Written: September 20, 2017
Sound governance is central to effective pandemic management. Key international legal instruments governing pandemic management in the European Union (EU)the International Health Regulations (2005) and Decision 1082/13, require EU Member States to develop national plans and invite them to establish national legal frameworks to support compliance with this international legislation. Although Member States may design the legal framework as they choose, the strongest instrument of pandemic governance is national legislation.
It is currently unclear what national pandemic governance exists in Member States as it has not been mapped, i.e. identified and collated. Legal analysis and empirical evaluation of implementation and impact have therefore not been possible. We propose comprehensive mapping to create the necessary comparative data for legal analysis assessing national legislation’s compliance with international obligations and ethical principles. Empirical research could evaluate its effectiveness in promoting cross-border coherence and robust emergency response. We draw on the U.S. experience with “policy surveillance”, the systematic scientific mapping of laws of public health importance. Until national pandemic governance is mapped and evaluated, we cannot know if it is lawful, ethical or effective.
Keywords: Mapping, legislation, pandemic, governance, European Union, ethics
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