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Summaries of EU Legislation

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Areas in which the EU can support policymaking in EU countries

Summaries of EU legislation: direct access to the main summaries page.
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Areas in which the EU can support policymaking in EU countries




The Treaty of Lisbon introduced four new policy areas in which the European Union may intervene:

  • civil protection,
  • administrative cooperation,
  • tourism, and
  • sport.

In these areas, the EU has supporting competences. The EU does not acquire any additional legislative powers insofar as it can act only to support the actions of EU countries without being able to harmonise national law.

Moreover, the EU has already intervened in these areas by means of cross-cutting policies. The Treaty of Lisbon clarifies the EU’s objectives and action by creating specific legal bases for these four areas.

Civil protection

The Treaty of Lisbon endeavours to improve the EU’s ability to deal with natural or man-made disasters. Article 196 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union enables the EU to adopt measures relating to:

Moreover, these terms on civil protection are to be linked with the solidarity clause in Article 222 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. This clause enables the EU to assist a Member State which has been the victim of a terrorist attack or a natural or man-made disaster.

Administrative cooperation

Administrative cooperation between Member States becomes a competence of the EU (Article 197 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union). The aim is to guarantee the effective implementation of European law, particularly by improving the effectiveness of EU countries’ administrations (for example, in the field of excise duties). The EU can therefore adopt new measures aimed at facilitating the exchange of good practice between EU countries as well as the introduction of training programmes.

However, the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union places two restrictions on the exercise of this new power:

  • an EU country may not, under any circumstances, be obliged to take advantage of the support of the EU;
  • the EU may not adopt measures relating to the harmonisation of the laws and regulations of the EU countries.


Tourism was already present in several EU policies, such as regional policy and employment policy. From now on, the treaty creates a specific legal basis in order to enable the EU to intervene in this area (Article 195 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU).

EU action can therefore have two objectives:

  • to create a favourable environment for the development of activities in the tourism sector;
  • to promote cooperation between EU countries, particularly through the exchange of good practice.


The Treaty of Lisbon confirms the EU’s competence in the area of sport. However, it does not create a specific article, but incorporates a legal basis relating to sport into the section of the treaties devoted to education, vocational training and young people.

Article 165 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union states that the EU’s objective is to promote European sporting issues. Specifically, the EU will be able, for example, to support EU countries’ actions aimed at protecting the physical and moral integrity of sportsmen and sportswomen or at combating doping in sport.

The EU will also be able to develop cooperation with international bodies in the area of sport.

last update 15.02.2016