Monday, 19 January 2009

EU Law: Tourism

Should the same internal market rules (and others) apply to all businesses, or should certain sectors be singled out for special treatment in the European Union?

Tourism is now mentioned in the treaty, but without a legal base for specific action. The Lisbon Treaty would allow complementary action with regard to the tourism sector.



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TEC


There is no Title on tourism and no specific legal base in the current Treaty establishing the European Community (TEC). Cf. the latest consolidated version of the treaties, OJEU 29.12.2006 C 321 E.

Still, tourism is not completely forgotten. Article 3(1)(u) TEC lists ‘measures in the spheres of energy, civil protection and tourism’ among the activities of the European Community.



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Constitutional Treaty

This is one of the rare instances, where the intergovernmental conference (IGC 2004) made a positive contribution to the Constitutional Treaty.

The IGC 2004 added a Section and an Article on tourism to the proposal by the European Convention. Article III-281 of the Constitution:

SECTION 4
TOURISM

Article III_281 Constitution

1. The Union shall complement the action of the Member States in the tourism sector, in particular by promoting the competitiveness of Union undertakings in that sector.

To that end, Union action shall be aimed at:

(a) encouraging the creation of a favourable environment for the development of undertakings in this sector;

(b) promoting cooperation between the Member States, particularly by the exchange of good practice;

2. European laws or framework laws shall establish specific measures to complement actions within the Member States to achieve the objectives referred to in this Article, excluding any harmonisation of the laws and regulations of the Member States.


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Original Lisbon Treaty (ToL)

Article 2, point 148 inserted a new Title XXI Tourism and a new Article 176b (OJEU 17.12.2007 C 306/89):

TOURISM

148) Title XXI shall be replaced by the following new Title and new Article 176 B:

‘TITLE XXI
TOURISM

Article 176 B

1. The Union shall complement the action of the Member States in the tourism sector, in particular by promoting the competitiveness of Union undertakings in that sector.

To that end, Union action shall be aimed at:

(a) encouraging the creation of a favourable environment for the development of undertakings in this sector;

(b) promoting cooperation between the Member States, particularly by the exchange of good practice.

2. The European Parliament and the Council, acting in accordance with the ordinary legislative procedure, shall establish specific measures to complement actions within the Member States to achieve the objectives referred to in this Article, excluding any harmonisation of the laws and regulations of the Member States.’.


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Renumbering the Treaty of Lisbon (ToL)

The Table of equivalences of the original Treaty of Lisbon tells us that the new Title XXI Tourism in the TFEU (ToL) was renumbered Title XXII Tourism in the consolidated version of the Lisbon Treaty.

Article 176b TFEU (ToL) was renumbered Article 195 TFEU in the consolidated version of the Lisbon Treaty (OJEU 17.12.2007 C 306/218).


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Lisbon Treaty consolidated

Article 195 TFEU

The Lisbon Treaty adjusted the terminology of the Constitutional Treaty. Article 195 TFEU appears like this in the consolidated version of the Treaty of Lisbon (OJEU 9.5.2008 C 115/134):

TITLE XXII
TOURISM

Article 195 TFEU

1. The Union shall complement the action of the Member States in the tourism sector, in particular by promoting the competitiveness of Union undertakings in that sector.

To that end, Union action shall be aimed at:

(a) encouraging the creation of a favourable environment for the development of undertakings in this sector;

(b) promoting cooperation between the Member States, particularly by the exchange of good practice.

2. The European Parliament and the Council, acting in accordance with the ordinary legislative procedure, shall establish specific measures to complement actions within the Member States to achieve the objectives referred to in this Article, excluding any harmonisation of the laws and regulations of the Member States.

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Competence

In the general classification of EU competence in different policy areas, tourism appears among the supporting, coordinating or supplementing actions in Article 6(d) TFEU.

With a legal base for tourism, complementing actions can be based squarely on the needs of the sector, instead of having to fit other grounds for action.


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Tourism summary

The Commission’s Scadplus pages offer summaries of legislation in different areas of EU policy, but actions with effects on tourism have been undertaken in other areas. Therefore the web page Towards a stronger partnership for European Tourism is more general than these pages in general (last update 23 May 2006):

http://europa.eu/scadplus/leg/en/lvb/n26107.htm


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Commission activities

The Commission’s Directorate-General Enterprise and Industry offers an introductory page on tourism, with further links:

http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/tourism/index_en.htm


The Commission reminds us that the tourism sector is dominated by small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and that it accounts for 4% of the Community’s GDP, with about 2 million enterprises employing about 4% of the total labour force (representing approximately 8 million jobs). When the links to other sectors are taken into account, the contribution of tourism to GDP is estimated to be around 11% and it provides employment to more than 12% of the labour force (24 million jobs).


More detailed facts about tourism are presented in the Eurostat Tourism Statistics Pocketbook (2008):

http://epp.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/portal/page?_pageid=1073,46587259&_dad=portal&_schema=PORTAL&p_product_code=KS-DS-08-001


Tourism: the European Community’s involvement in tourism is a web page offering a historic overview of EC activities (latest update 6 October 2008):

http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/tourism/further_reading/index_en.htm


Commission Communications on tourism are available here:

http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/tourism/documentation/communications/index_en.htm



The practically minded would opt for the latest one. The October 2007 Agenda for a sustainable and competitive European Tourism, as well as links to conclusions the same autumn by the Council and the European Council. There are also detailed reactions to the European Tourism Policy from the European Parliament, available here:

http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/tourism/documentation/communications/commission_communication_2007/index_en.htm

The Communication (Brussels, 19.10.2007 COM(2007) 621 final) applies the aims of sustainable development to the tourism sector.





Ralf Grahn