The expanding scope of European law in areas that impinge on health care, coupled with a greater awareness by individuals and organisations within the European Union of the rights that this confers on them, has created new tensions. It throws into relief the challenge of ensuring that progress in developing an internal market enhances rather than undermines consumer safety and social protection. Resolving this challenge has become more important as the social dimension of what was first conceived as primarily an economic union has become more prominent.
In December 2001 the Belgian presidency of the European Union convened a conference in Ghent on the implications of European law for the social nature of health care. Two complementary books emerged from this process. This volume provides an in-depth analysis of some of the most important issues facing health policy makers in Europe. Leading commentators present a range of perspectives from the legal profession on the current situation and prospects for the future, providing a detailed map of the often-labyrinthine body of European law and how it impacts on health care.