Monday, 15 December 2008

European Union: Education and youth plus sport

The European Community (European Union) encourages cooperation between the member states in the areas of education and youth exchange. The Lisbon Treaty adds sport and embellishes youth.

There is no denying the importance of sport, from many angles, but lobbyists and lawyers can rejoice that the Lisbon Treaty is not content with the addition, but refers to the specific nature of sport. This is an open invitation to special pleading, of which we have already seen vigorous signs.

Although the Community (Union) powers are puny, the education sector hosts some of the most popular European mobility programmes.



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Article 149 TEC

Chapter 3 Education, vocational training and youth starts with Article 149 TEC (ex Article 126) setting out European Community (European Union) aims and activities in the policy areas education and youth.

The current Article 149 of the Treaty establishing the European Community (TEC), as published in the latest consolidated version of the treaties, OJ 29.12.2006 C 321 E/112–113:

CHAPTER 3
EDUCATION, VOCATIONAL TRAINING AND YOUTH

Article 149 TEC

1. The Community shall contribute to the development of quality education by encouraging cooperation between Member States and, if necessary, by supporting and supplementing their action, while fully respecting the responsibility of the Member States for the content of teaching and the organisation of education systems and their cultural and linguistic diversity.

2. Community action shall be aimed at:

— developing the European dimension in education, particularly through the teaching and dissemination of the languages of the Member States,

— encouraging mobility of students and teachers, by encouraging inter alia, the academic recognition of diplomas and periods of study,

— promoting cooperation between educational establishments,

— developing exchanges of information and experience on issues common to the education systems of the Member States,

— encouraging the development of youth exchanges and of exchanges of socioeducational instructors,

— encouraging the development of distance education.

3. The Community and the Member States shall foster cooperation with third countries and the competent international organisations in the field of education, in particular the Council of Europe.

4. In order to contribute to the achievement of the objectives referred to in this Article, the Council:

— acting in accordance with the procedure referred to in Article 251, after consulting the Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions, shall adopt incentive measures, excluding any harmonisation of the laws and regulations of the Member States,

— acting by a qualified majority on a proposal from the Commission, shall adopt recommendations.


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Original Lisbon Treaty (ToL)

Although the Treaty of Lisbon is unreadable on its own, it spells out how the current treaties are amended.

Article 2, point 123 of the original Treaty of Lisbon (ToL) tells us that Chapter 3 becomes the new Title XI Education, vocational training, youth and sport(OJ 17.12.2007 C 306/82):

EDUCATION, VOCATIONAL TRAINING, YOUTH AND SPORT

123) Chapter 3 shall be renumbered TITLE XI and the words ‘AND YOUTH’ at the end of the
heading shall be replaced by ‘, YOUTH AND SPORT’.

124) Article 149 shall be amended as follows:

(a) in paragraph 1, the following subparagraph shall be inserted:

‘The Union shall contribute to the promotion of European sporting issues, while taking account of the specific nature of sport, its structures based on voluntary activity and its social and educational function.’;

(b) in paragraph 2, fifth indent, the words ‘and encouraging the participation of young people in democratic life in Europe,’ shall be added at the end; the following shall be inserted as the last indent:

‘— developing the European dimension in sport, by promoting fairness and openness in sporting competitions and cooperation between bodies responsible for sports, and by protecting the physical and moral integrity of sportsmen and sportswomen, especially the youngest sportsmen and sportswomen.’;

(c) in paragraph 3, the words ‘and sport’ shall be added after ‘in the field of education’;

(d) in paragraph 4, the words ‘the Council’ shall be deleted from the introductory phrase and the first indent shall begin with the words ‘the European Parliament and the Council, acting’; the second indent shall begin with the words ‘the Council, on a proposal’.

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Convention and Constitution

European sporting issues and the European dimension in sport are the main novelties. The additions come from Article III-282 of the Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe, word for word.

The indent on youth exchange was embellished with encouragement of the participation of young people in democratic life in Europe. Nice, to the extent there can said to be such life at European level, this addition too was taken over from Constitution Article III-282.

Like most of the ‘innovations’ of the Constitutional Treaty, these are based on the proposals of the European Convention in the draft Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe, although the intergovernmental conference added the reference to the specific nature of sport, its structures based on voluntary activity…

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Renumbering ToL

The Table of equivalences of the original Treaty of Lisbon tells us that the Chapter 3 on education, vocational training and youth was first to become Title XI Education, vocational training, youth and sport, but renumbered Title XII in the consolidated version.

Article 149 TEC first became Article 149 TFEU (ToL), then renumbered Article 165 TFEU in the consolidated versions of the amending treaties (OJ 17.12.2007 C 306/217).


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Consolidated Lisbon Treaty

After the explicit amendments, horizontal amendments and renumbering, Article 165 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) appears as follows in the consolidated TFEU, published in the Official Journal of the European Union, OJ 9.5.2008 C 115/120–121:

TITLE XII
EDUCATION, VOCATIONAL TRAINING, YOUTH AND SPORT

Article 165 TFEU
(ex Article 149 TEC)

1. The Union shall contribute to the development of quality education by encouraging cooperation between Member States and, if necessary, by supporting and supplementing their action, while fully respecting the responsibility of the Member States for the content of teaching and the organisation of education systems and their cultural and linguistic diversity.

The Union shall contribute to the promotion of European sporting issues, while taking account of the specific nature of sport, its structures based on voluntary activity and its social and educational function.

2. Union action shall be aimed at:

— developing the European dimension in education, particularly through the teaching and dissemination of the languages of the Member States,

— encouraging mobility of students and teachers, by encouraging inter alia, the academic recognition of diplomas and periods of study,

— promoting cooperation between educational establishments,

— developing exchanges of information and experience on issues common to the education systems of the Member States,

— encouraging the development of youth exchanges and of exchanges of socio-educational instructors, and encouraging the participation of young people in democratic life in Europe,

— encouraging the development of distance education,

— developing the European dimension in sport, by promoting fairness and openness in sporting competitions and cooperation between bodies responsible for sports, and by protecting the physical and moral integrity of sportsmen and sportswomen, especially the youngest sportsmen and sportswomen.

3. The Union and the Member States shall foster cooperation with third countries and the competent international organisations in the field of education and sport, in particular the Council of Europe.

4. In order to contribute to the achievement of the objectives referred to in this Article:

— the European Parliament and the Council, acting in accordance with the ordinary legislative procedure, after consulting the Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions, shall adopt incentive measures, excluding any harmonisation of the laws and regulations of the Member States,

— the Council, on a proposal from the Commission, shall adopt recommendations.

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EU competence

Having looked at the powers of the European Union in the areas of education, youth and sport, as set out by the Treaty of Lisbon, it might be helpful to recall the general TFEU provisions on categories and areas of Union competence.

Article 2 TFEU presents the main characteristics of exclusive competence and shared competence before the description in Article 2(5) TFEU:

5. In certain areas and under the conditions laid down in the Treaties, the Union shall have competence to carry out actions to support, coordinate or supplement the actions of the Member States, without thereby superseding their competence in these areas.

Legally binding acts of the Union adopted on the basis of the provisions of the Treaties relating to these areas shall not entail harmonisation of Member States' laws or regulations.


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Article 6 TFEU

The policy areas are then formed into rough groups in the following Articles. Here we are interested in Article 6 TFEU. Education, vocational training, youth and sport are mentioned among the areas, where the EU supports, coordinates or supplements member states’ actions:

Article 6 TFEU

The Union shall have competence to carry out actions to support, coordinate or supplement the
actions of the Member States. The areas of such action shall, at European level, be:

(a) protection and improvement of human health;

(b) industry;

(c) culture;

(d) tourism;

(e) education, vocational training, youth and sport;

(f) civil protection;

(g) administrative cooperation.

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Summaries of legislation: Education

On the Commission’s Scadplus web pages with summaries of legislation, there is one offering a plethora of links to different aspects of Education and training: General framework:

http://europa.eu/scadplus/leg/en/s19004.htm

Lifelong learning and the Lisbon Strategy for Growth and Jobs are common catchwords. The Lifelong learning programme 2007–2013 incorporates many of the best known activities of the European Union, such as the Comenius, Erasmus, Leonardo da Vinci, Grundtvig and Jean Monnet programmes as well as a transversal programme.

General Commission news and links concerning education and training can be found here:

http://ec.europa.eu/education/index_en.htm

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Summaries of legislation: Youth

The Youth in Action programme 2007–2013 is presented on the following web page:

http://europa.eu/scadplus/leg/en/cha/c11080.htm

For general information about the Commission’s youth activities, you can start here:

http://ec.europa.eu/youth/index_en.htm

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Sport

The Commission’s activities concerning sport have been targeted at specific issues like sport in education or the combat against doping, but the Lisbon Treaty would widen the scope for supporting action at European level.

You can explore the activities through the Commission’s web page:

http://ec.europa.eu/sport/index_en.htm

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Specific nature of sport

For a first look at the specific nature of sport within the European Union, you can go to the Commission’s Scadplus web page Incorporating the specific characteristics of sport and its social functions into the implementation of common policies:

http://ec.europa.eu/youth/index_en.htm

An analysis of the issues at stake, by Dr Richard Parrish, can be found here:

http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld200708/ldselect/ldeucom/62/62wef15.htm

Given the chance, President Nicolas Sarkozy is seldom tardy in challenging the internal market and competition rules forming the backbone of the European (Economic) Community. The EurActiv article Sarkozy backs European ‘sporting exception’ (14 July 2008):

http://www.euractiv.com/en/sports/sarkozy-backs-european-sporting-exception/article-174130

The big (business) federations of sport have all been keen to explore new possibilities to tailor European legislation to their needs. Here are a few introductory greetings from UEFA, FIFA and the IOC:

http://www.uefa.com/uefa/Keytopics/kind=2048/newsId=480464.html

http://www.fifa.com/aboutfifa/federation/releases/newsid=620034.html

http://www.olympic.org/uk/news/media_centre/press_release_uk.asp?release=2358



Ralf Grahn