European Multilevel Governance in the Health Sector

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The paper analyses how, between 2020 and 2022, the von der Leyen European Commission employed discursive legitimization strategies to endorse the proposal for a European Health Union. There is a literature gap regarding the discursive construction of a European Health Union. Departing from discursive strategies of legitimization and the distinction between Type I and Type II systems of multi-level governance, the paper addresses the following research conundrum: How can it be argued that the von der Leyen European Commission’s discourse about the need to build a European Health Union favors a particular type of multi-level governance in the health sector? The paper argues that the discursive strategies employed by the von der Leyen European Commission to legitimize the idea of a European Health Union reveal a preference for a Type I system combined with some elements of a Type II multi-level governance system.