"There are very high expectations" regarding the future EU competence on sport, said Michal Krejza, the head of the European Commission's sports unit, addressing the final conference of EU:Sport:Future.
Expectations regarding the legal certainty and specific nature of sport, for example, are "too high, sometimes," particularly within the sports movement itself but also from governments and other stakeholders, and thus "need to be managed", he added.
Krejza stressed that Article 165 of the Lisbon Treaty gives the EU "a very soft competence" for supporting and coordinating action.
In order to identify and clarify "our core business and policy response" to the new soft power, Krejza said the EU executive would launch an intensive consultation process with both member states and the sports movement early next year.
Meanwhile, the results of the EU:Sport:Future project already provide a good indication as to the sports movement's expectations.
Gathered for the project's final conference in Oeiras, Portugal (30 October), citizens and sports federation representatives discovered the results of the project's online questionnaire as well as the outcome of the various citizen panels on health, education, volunteering, employment and society.
The recommendations put forward are not only addressed to the EU, but also to member-state governments and even to private companies and the media.
Points raised during the project's wrap-up day ranged from providing people with incentives to become physically active and volunteer more, to the inclusion of sport in other EU policies. Helping volunteer sports clubs become more efficient and professional to attract additional members while enhancing social dialogue were also identified as topics for further discussion.
The final conference also adopted a citizens' declaration on the role of sport in Europe, outlining a series of recommendations to the EU to shape its future competence.
The Union is asked to promote European-wide media campaigns on the health benefits of an active lifestyle, declare 2014 the European Year of Sport and Physical Activity and establish a 'European Day of Sport' to highlight the societal role of sport.
The declaration also suggests that the EU helps member states to implement a common sports qualification framework and work towards mutual recognition of qualifications in order to improve mobility of sportspeople.
Further ideas include data collection on sports employment in Europe and the creation of European thematic networks to exchange good practices on different sports topics.