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2009 | 47 | 1 | 28-34

Article title

Can We Talk about European Public Policy in the Field of Sport?


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Despite the continuous deepening, development and enlargement, the members of the European Union still diverge in their policies and have to find a way to diminish this divergence. The social, economical and cultural significance of sport is well known in the whole of Europe. Accordingly, in the recent past, the various institutions of the European Union have come to pay more attention to sport issues. An important milestone of this was the European Commission issuing a White Paper on sport, and the inclusion of sport in the Lisbon Treaty. However the question is raised: Is there a European public policy of sport? The author's objective was to investigate this question. This paper aims to highlight the European sport policy and tries to find the answer to the following question: can we talk about European public policy in the field of sport? The research examines through the analysis of documents whether sport can be regarded as an element of public policy. We can talk about common public policy of a certain area if it corresponds to the following five criteria: content, social competence, coercive factor, normative orientation and programme. In the first part, the content and the social competence are analyzed, and then some critical issues of the definition, namely of the public policy will be discussed. In the opinion of the author, the most problematic criterion is the programme, which presumes at least a mid-term European sport conception. It is especially important that sport could fulfil its community building, identity-forming role to which it is suited in the continuously enlarging Europe. Finally the author draws the conclusion that the European sport policy corresponds partly to the above-mentioned criteria; however, the realization of the Pierre de Coubertin Action Plan included in the White Paper, and the ratification of the Lisbon Treaty can create opportunities for sport to become a public policy of the European Union.









Physical description


1 - 12 - 2009
13 - 1 - 2010


  • Faculty of Physical Education and Sport Science, Semmelweis University, Budapest, Hungary


  • Citizens of the European Union and sport (2004). Special Eurobarometer 213. At
  • Code of Sport Ethics (2001). Council of Europe.
  • European Sports Charter (1992; 2001). Council of Europe.
  • Independent European Sport Review (2006). Report by: José Luis Arnaut, Executive Summary. October 2006.
  • Meny, Y., Thoening, J.C. (1989). Politiques Publiques. Editions Presses Universitaires de France.
  • Presidential conclusions at the Nice meeting of the European Council. Appendix IV. 7-9 December, 2000.
  • Waele, J.M., Husting, A. (2000). Sport et Union Européenne. Bruxelles: Edition de l'Université de Bruxelles.
  • White Paper on Sport (2007). Brussels: European Commission.

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