The Covid-19 pandemic marks a shift in the EU’s approach to the multilateral system. Just at a time when the EU aspires to avoid being crushed between the US and China, the World Health Organization (WHO) became one of the new battlegrounds in world politics. This norm-setting international organization for health was already under pressure due to a plethora of other organizations trespassing its mandate, reduced core funding and weak governance, reinforced by a strongly decentralized structure. This article will use the exit, voice and loyalty approach to analyse how the EU operated in the multilateral system during the first phase of the Covid-19 crisis with the WHO and vaccines race as case studies. A comparison is made with the EU’s positioning on global health in the previous decade. Is the EU truly committed to upholding multilateralism in global health through the WHO, and has the Covid-19 pandemic made a structural change?
Louise van Schaik, Knud Erik Jørgensen & Remco van de Pas (2020) Loyal at once? The EU’s global health awakening in the Covid-19 pandemic, Journal of European Integration, 42:8, 1145-1160, https://doi.org/10.1080/07036337.2020.1853118