EU sports White Paper to address ‘inclusion’

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The Parliament’s Intergroup on Sport and Education and Culture Commissioner Jan Figel are to highlight the key role that sport plays in social inclusion.

“The potential of sport to make a lasting impact on society in terms of health, participation and inclusion cannot be overestimated,” said MEP Chris Heaton-Harris in a recent meeting of European Parliament’s Intergroup on Sport. 

The working group, which meets every three months to discuss sports-related policies, held, in view of the upcoming White Paper, a debate on sport’s impact on social inclusion in Europe. The debate was attended by Commissioner for Education and Culture Jan Figel, who admitted that “sport plays a crucial role in social inclusion policies” and that “the forthcoming Commission’s White Paper…will therefore address the issue of inclusion”.

Figel also said that sport can help disabled people to become better integrated in our societies and highlighted the importance of events such the Paralympics in this context. MEP Heaton-Harris stressed that, with regards the disabled community, supporting both talented athletes in their ambition to compete and offering opportunities “at the grass-roots levels in the local community and through schools” were equally important.

The White Paper on Sport in Europe is due to be published 4 July 2007.

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