EU Sport Diplomacy: An Idea Whose Time Has Nearly Come

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The EU is often characterised as an economic giant but a political dwarf. In recognition of the need to develop its diplomatic persona, it is increasingly deploying soft power. Since the adoption of the sports competence in the Lisbon Treaty, the EU has considered the potential of sport to assist with the amplification of foreign policy messages. However, unlike many nation-states, it has not yet developed a sport diplomacy strategy, although the adoption of one is being discussed at ministerial level. Employing Kingdon’s multiple streams framework, this article explains how solutions have become joined to problems and that increasingly favourable political forces have opened a policy window through which the first ever EU sport diplomacy strategy should pass. However, the article also urges caution on policy entrepreneurs by advising on the circumstances in which Kingdon’s three streams will couple and a strategy emerge.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Common Market Studies
Early online date24 Jan 2022
Publication statusPublished - 24 Jan 2022


  • EU sport diplomacy
  • Article 165 TFEU
  • multiple streams framework.

Research Centres

  • Centre for Sports Law Research


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