The EU and the Securitization of Pandemic Influenza

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Type

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy

Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
Supervisors/Advisors
Thesis sponsors
  • European Research Council
Award date02 Jan 2014
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Abstract

This thesis builds on the current literature on health security and on the European Union by examining the process of securitizing pandemic influenza at the level of the EU. It does so by two means: First, the thesis revisits securitization theory and the assumptions underpinning it in order to provide a revised theoretical framework that is more suited to analysing securitizing processes as they relate to pandemic influenza and the EU. Second, on the basis of this revised framework, the thesis offers a detailed empirical study of the process of securitization in this context. The thesis asks the following two questions: Has pandemic influenza been securitized at the level of the EU? What are the consequences for the role of the EU as a provider of health security? The thesis broadly follows an externalist reading of securitization theory by arguing for the elevation of the importance of context and actor-­‐audience disposition in accounting for processes of securitization in different empirical settings. On the basis of this, the thesis argues that it is possible to identify a process of securitizing pandemic influenza underway at EU level with political effect. This process of securitization has been spurred and propelled forward by a series of crisis events and has provided the basis for the expansion of EU competences and activities in providing for health security within the Union. The thesis demonstrates, however, that this process of securitization is a negotiated one and one marked by points of contestation throughout. Thus, while the thesis concludes that the process of securitizing pandemic influenza at the level of the EU has currently reached what can be considered a heightened stage, the extent of executive authority granted to the Commission in providing for health security within the Union remains limited