Evidence and power in EU governance of health promotion: Discursive obstacles to a “Health in All Policies” approach

Charlotte Godziewski*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article explores the relation between the meaning of what constitutes ‘evidence’ in the European Commission (EC) and the Health in All Policies (HiAP) concept. Since the 2006 Finnish EU presidency, HiAP is regularly referred to by the Commission, but has not yet been implemented as an overarching political vision. While there is a growing literature on technical implementation of HiAP, little work has delved into the political obstacles to HiAP. This article explores three ways in which the dominant meaning of ‘evidence’ in the EC reinforces neoliberal institutional characteristics in a way that undermines HiAP: The problematization of health reinforces constitutional asymmetry; the definition of ‘EU added value’ hampers positive integration; and the politicization of evidence strengthens the Better Regulation metaregulatory agenda. The article suggests that the meaning of evidence in the EC reinforces neoliberal rationality present at institutional level, and calls for more dialogue across public health ontologies.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1307-1324
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Common Market Studies
Issue number5
Early online date6 May 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2020

Bibliographical note

© 2020 The Authors. JCMS: Journal of Common Market Studies published by University Association for Contemporary European Studies and John Wiley & Sons Ltd

This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


  • EU governance
  • discourse analysis
  • evidence
  • health in all policies
  • health promotion
  • politics of health


Dive into the research topics of 'Evidence and power in EU governance of health promotion: Discursive obstacles to a “Health in All Policies” approach'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this