Conditions for Effective Regional Social (Health) Policies: The EU and UNASUR Compared

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UNU Institute on Comparative Regional Integration Studies
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UNU-CRIS Working Papers
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This paper discusses the conditions that are necessary for effective regional social protection policies. Following a presentation of theoretical considerations, it empirally juxtaposes two regional organisations. These include one that is at an embryonic stage of gestation in the South (the Union of South American States or UNASUR), and another that is more advanced (the European Union or the EU). It considers three generic conditions necessary for determining the role of regional organisations in the realm of social policy. These include willingness, acceptance and capacity. To better assess these conditions, it focuses on regional health policies in the EU and UNASUR. The entities in question are selected because they are the most significant regional organisations, both in terms of membership and size, to have an express desire and an ambitious mandate to foster regional health policies. The chapter ends with a discussion of the promise of further research on regional health norms and policies. It argues that stronger social protections are needed at the regional level in tough economic times, as those likely to suffer the most are those who are the least connected to the root causes of the problems.