EU sport policy: An overview

03-09-2015

Sport is a field in which the EU's responsibilities are new. The Lisbon Treaty, which entered into force in December 2009, grants the Union a supporting competence, meaning that legally binding measures are excluded. EU scope for intervention is further limited by the need to take the specific nature of sport into account and to respect the autonomy of sport organisations, which are traditionally in charge of regulating and organising their sport. In policy-making, the EU thus relies on soft power, i.e. on dialogue and cooperation, as well as incentive measures, taking the form of financial support for projects and networks. If one had to sum up the EU approach in one word, 'guidance' would probably be the most appropriate. Concrete achievements so far include mainly policy recommendations and guiding principles addressed to Member States and sport stakeholders. In the international context, where the Council of Europe, long active in the field of sport, already plays a prominent role, the EU seeks to strengthen unity and foster convergence between its Member States, with a view to arriving at coordinated positions on transnational issues, including the fight against doping and match-fixing.

Sport is a field in which the EU's responsibilities are new. The Lisbon Treaty, which entered into force in December 2009, grants the Union a supporting competence, meaning that legally binding measures are excluded. EU scope for intervention is further limited by the need to take the specific nature of sport into account and to respect the autonomy of sport organisations, which are traditionally in charge of regulating and organising their sport. In policy-making, the EU thus relies on soft power, i.e. on dialogue and cooperation, as well as incentive measures, taking the form of financial support for projects and networks. If one had to sum up the EU approach in one word, 'guidance' would probably be the most appropriate. Concrete achievements so far include mainly policy recommendations and guiding principles addressed to Member States and sport stakeholders. In the international context, where the Council of Europe, long active in the field of sport, already plays a prominent role, the EU seeks to strengthen unity and foster convergence between its Member States, with a view to arriving at coordinated positions on transnational issues, including the fight against doping and match-fixing.