Defining Europe during COVID-19 pandemic: EU’s discursive construction of public health

Research Paper by Iverson Chun Sing NG



Estonia-based researcher Iverson NG found that discourses on EU values have changed due to COVID-19.

The COVID-19 global pandemic is a crisis of European values as it is a public health emergency with economic implications. Given the existing political architecture of the EU, the lack of EU competence in the public health area affects the EU’s exclusive competence in ensuring the functioning of the European Single Market. This research paper contributes to the understanding of how European values are discursively constructed in public health and economic terms by analysing EU official statements and speeches. Arguably, these discursive constructions were conflictual in the beginning of the pandemic due to EU’s different competences in these areas; they eventually become consistent in terms of legitimizing more collective actions initiated at the EU level in handling public health crises.


About the author

Iverson C. S. NG is a recent graduate of EU-Russia Studies master’s programme at Tartu University in Estonia. Prior to his defended Master’s thesis on ‘The dynamic of the discursive construction of Europeanness and Eastness in the European Union’s discourse on Ukraine, 2004-2016’, he co-authored a published article entitled ‘Narrators’ perspectives: communicating the EU in Ukraine, Israel and Palestine in times of conflict’.

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