Keywords: Health care policy - European integration - Welfare state - Citizenship
The territoriality principle is the fundamental basis of national welfare states. However, European integration and the accomplishment of the EC single market have started to challenge this principle. From 1998 onwards the European Court of Justice began to issue rulings which opened a window of opportunity to foster the integration process also in the case of healthcare. The article analyses the emergence of health care policy at the European level, which has ultimately led to the formulation of new legislative proposal as well as to the institutionalisation of mechanisms of cooperation between Member States in the field of cross-border care. The neofunctionalist logic underpinning the process of integration and the nationally embedded nature of welfare state systems provide us with the general framework of analysis. Yet, in order to identify the dynamics of decision making it is necessary to adopt a policy approach, in order to assess whether a new European policy is being set up.