Upcoming talk: The (construed) role of the EU in national policies on asylum seekers’ and refugees’ access to health care

On Wednesday, 24 March, I will present a part of my research project “Migration and health policies in Europe” at the “Health in Europe” discussion forum hosted by the Centre for Law and Society, Lancaster Law School (UK). In my talk, I will shed light on the (construed) roles national governments and parties attribute to ‘the EU’ – e.g. as regulator, standard setter, or scapegoat – in policy-making processes concerning the regulation of asylum seekers’ and refugees’ access to health care with the aim to justify policy reforms at home. Although the legal regulation of asylum seekers’ and refugees’ incorporation in national health-care systems remains largely a national competence, both the areas of health and asylum policy have experienced increasing – if still fragmented – integration at the EU level over the past three decades. These integration processes have not only forced national legislators to adapt policies and laws in order to abide to EU standards and laws, but they have also prompted national governments to shift the responsibility for policy reforms to the EU – even in cases where not all aspects of such a reform would have been required based on EU legislation.

This talk will focus on the cases of Germany and Sweden as two main recipient countries during the recent so-called ‘migration (administration) crisis’. By applying the theoretical concepts of claims (Ruedin 2017) and frames/framing (Sainsbury 2012), my talk will provide insight into governments’ presentation of, and reference to, the EU as suggested unitary actor with an increasing impact on national incorporation and health-care regimes. The dataset at the basis of the analysis consists primarily of policy documents such as government declarations, statements by ministries and responsible state agencies, minutes of plenary debates, and election manifestos.

If you would like to join the session (Wednesday, 24 March 2021, 12pm-1pm UK time), please email Dr Mary Guy (m.guy2@lancaster.ac.uk) from Lancaster University.