Health and environment policies in the European Union

Helen Kopnina*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Pendulum shifts from the more "humanitarian" focus on public health and welfare to greater attention to environmental issues continued throughout the twenty-first century in Europe. Concerns about economical progress (with the perceived risks thereof to both health and environment) as well as technological innovation inherent in this process (with possible advantages to health and environment) are reflected in European policies. These shifts of public interest and policy priorities are still very much present, as European governments debate priorities in spending. This chapter examines the evolution of European health and environmental policies, and the role of European institutions as well as lobby and interest groups in shaping these policies. This chapter outlines the necessity of social scientific research into the effect of the European policies at the national, regional and local policies. The author argues that social scientists are in unique position to contribute to the expansion of knowledge on health and environment by analyzing the differences in interpretation, adaptation and implementation of health and environmental policies in cross-national perspective. Two cases of European policies promoting public health and environmental protection in the Dutch context are addressed. European policy, targeted at the improvement of air quality in one case, and at the reduction of illegal timber trade in another case, is met with only partial compliance and even resistance at the Dutch national level.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHealth and Environment
Subtitle of host publicationSocial Science Perspectives
EditorsHelen Kopnina, Hans Keune
Place of PublicationNew York
PublisherNova Science Publishers
Number of pages25
ISBN (Print)9781626188761
Publication statusPublished - May 2013
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NamePublic Health in the 21st Century
PublisherNova Science Publishers


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