With sport just a year old as an EU competence, the Hungarian Presidency will shape policy for years to come. Under the Lisbon Treaty, the EU picked up a supporting, coordinating and supplementing competence for sport. Article 165 enables actions promoting European sporting issues and developing the European dimension in sport. Here, the Commission is set, on 13 January, to present its ideas on how the new powers should be exploited. This will be the major item on the incoming Presidency's agenda.
Sports Commissioner Androulla Vassiliou is setting out the EU executive's plans over the next few years to implement the new treaty powers on sport (see box). The centrepiece in her communication is a plan identifying targeted actions where the Commission believes the EU can provide "high added value". However, given current budgetary constraints, the first real EU-funded sports programmes outlined in the action plan may only appear under the next financial perspectives, from 2014.
Guided by Budapest, EU ministers will respond to the Commission's detailed action plan. This lists very specific steps, based around Article 165, both for the Commission and member states. Ideas to be proposed include health-enhancing physical activity; EU accession to the Anti-Doping Convention of the Council of Europe; representation in the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA); criminal justice harmonisation in doping; sports training and education; qualifications; social inclusion; gender equality; integration of immigrants and minority groups, fighting violence, racism, xenophobia, homophobia and related intolerance.
MONEY TALKS TOO
The Hungarians will be first to steer debate on the economic dimension of sport. The Commission will examine the question of ensuring that sport-related intellectual property rights are respected. Organisational questions are not forgotten for ministers. These include good governance, standards, free movement and nationality of sports people...