Olympic movement backs EU sports competitions

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The EU's upcoming sports programme should support the organisation of sporting events "with a European added value" that combine competition with environmental protection or the promotion of tourism, the European Olympic movement said.

The proposal came in response to the European Commission's ongoing public consultation regarding future EU sports policy.

The proposal is supported by a number of other sports organisations, like FIFA, the European handball federation, the Association of European Rugby and European athletics.

Funding priorities

The Olympic Movement suggests that the funding should amount to at least €30 million a year, with up to 80% co-financing from the EU budget, "to guarantee a certain impact at European level".

The proposed priorities and specific objectives are very much in line with those put forward by the EU-27's sports ministers at their first official meeting last week (EURACTIV 11/05/10).

The paper suggests that upcoming EU funding should be targeted at the health-enhancing role of sport, with a particular focus on "risk groups", such as children and the elderly.

Another priority is to support schools in familiarising young people with a physically-active lifestyle.

Others include the launch of new programmes to promote a culture of volunteering and a focus on sport's potential for social inclusion and equal opportunities.

EU sport events

In addition, the paper proposes that an EU sport programme should "promote special events with European added value".

These could include the organisation of competitions in neighbouring regions and EU member states that "tackle simultaneously other European issues such as language skills, protection of the environment (i.e. green sporting events), promotion of tourism/regional development, social inclusion of disadvantaged groups, etc."

Commission proposals by end 2010

The Commission plans to table a political framework for sport policy at EU level in November. The document will be followed by a proposal for a future EU sport programme to implement the strategy.

The new programme will be prepared on the basis of experience gained from the sports preparatory actions being conducted from 2009-2011. The first, limited EU sports programme should follow these preparatory actions in 2012-2013, before a fully-fledged programme can begin with the EU's next long-term budget in 2014.

Article 165 of the Lisbon Treaty, which entered into force in December 2009, gave the EU a soft competence on sport.

This means that the European Commission will develop a specific EU sports programme, supported by a budget. The competence also allows for better promotion of sport in other EU policy areas and programmes, such as health and education.

An online public consultation was launched last month to complement a consultation process that the EU executive is already carrying out with governmental and non-governmental stakeholders on the use of the new competence (EURACTIV 09/04/10).

  • 19-20 April 2010: Second EU sport forum in Madrid (read forum report).
  • 1. June 2010: Deadline for public consultation on future EU action on sport.
  • Nov. 2010: Commission communication on impact of Lisbon Treaty on sport. 
  • Nov. 2010: Commission draft decision on EU's sports programme and budget.

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