Parliament asks for €3 million for 2010 sport projects

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The European Parliament amended the EU’s draft budget for 2010 last week to include €3 million for sport projects. This is €1.5 million more than proposed by the EU executive, but still less than the previous annual budget.

The Parliament’s education and culture committee sought to increase sport funding by €4.5 million and asked for a total budget of €6 million instead of the €1.5 million proposed by the European Commission. 

MEPs argued that a higher budget is needed in order to continue preparations for the Lisbon Treaty, which is set to give the EU a competence on sport. However, an amendment asking for €6 million was defeated amid demands for EU budgetary restraint due to the crisis. 

In comparison, EU funding for preparatory actions in the field of sport hit €4 million in 2009. It is complemented with a further €1 million for studies, surveys, conferences and seminars. Another €2.5 million was granted by the EU to support the organisation of the June 2009 Mediterranean Games and the July 2009 European Youth Olympic Festival.

The 2009 call for proposals was closed in August and the Commission is currently deciding on the grants so that the first projects can begin by the end of the year.

Actions to be funded include testing the establishment and functioning of suitable networks and good practices which can serve as a basis for a future EU sports programme.

The aim is to create a critical mass by grouping together sport-related organisations and projects around specific themes to identify priorities.

Last week’s first reading of the 2010 budget forms the Parliament’s basis for negotiations with the Council. The amount of money allocated to sport might still change, but it is not very likely to. The House will adopt the final budget at a plenary session in December.

Background

The European Commission's 2007 White Paper and Action Plan detailed future EU action on sport in view of an EU competence in the field, set to be introduced by the Treaty of Lisbon. 

In a non-binding resolution on the White Paper in 2008, the European Parliament called on the Commission to propose an EU sport programme as well as a budget for "preparatory actions" as of 2009. 

In March 2009, the Commission adopted a €7.5 million 2009 annual work programme on grants and contracts for preparatory actions on sport, as well as special events. A first call for projects was launched later in spring (EURACTIV 19/05/09).

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