EU Constitutional Order for Responding to Human Health Disasters


Today, our interconnected world creates significant opportunities for the devastating effects of (deliberate) biological and chemical health threats. Deadly pathogens emerge more frequently and can travel faster than at any other time in history. Most Constitutions have specific rules for such emergencies. Rules that limit the possibility to use the exceptional situation to justify the unbridled exercise of public power or fundamental rights infringements. Also at international level there are specific fundamental rights provisions that limit the boundless continuation of a state of emergency. In contrast, the EU has no explicit constitutional emergency regime in place, while it is de facto and de jure, expanding its power for responding to health disasters.

Existing research on the constitutional arrangements for responding to health disasters has focused on national or international responses and not – despite its increased power – on the EU dimension. The proposed research aims to empirically map, and normatively evaluate the European constitutional order for responding to human health disasters. It combines qualitative research methods with a normative legal analysis, for which an innovative legal framework is developed. This framework is based on a comparison of Member States constitutional provisions for emergencies, the available EU and international (WHO) law and fundamental rights. Using the empirical findings, the research will normatively assess the current law and practice, outline gaps, and propose legal improvements that may guide future changes of EU law.





Mr. dr. A. de Ruijter

Verbonden aan

Universiteit van Amsterdam, Faculteit der Geesteswetenschappen, Capaciteitsgroep Europese studies


Mr. dr. A. de Ruijter


01/01/2018 tot 01/09/2021