Millions of Europeans engage in sports and other physical activities - an established feature of life in Europe. The EU's policy agenda includes the new Erasmus+ programme, which promotes cooperation, dialogue and participation in all areas of sport.
Erasmus+ supports EU grassroots sports policy.
Sport is important because it
However, problems such as doping, match-fixing and violence need attention.
The EU supports cooperation between policymakers and dialogue with sport organisations, thereby both promoting the positive values associated with sport and addressing the attendant challenges.
The Erasmus+ Programme (2014-2020) focuses on grassroots sport. It can co-fund initiatives, helping to develop, share and implement innovative ideas and practices EU-wide, nationally and at regional and local level.
'Erasmus+: Sport' will help develop sport's European dimension, boosting cooperation between sports organisations, public authorities and other parties. It focuses on the following areas.
The EU promotes physical activity through the sharing and promotion of good practices between EU countries and with interested parties. The EU Physical Activity Guidelines [214 KB] (2008) show how cross-cutting national policies can encourage this. The on health-enhancing physical activity across sectors will
Physical activity is also promoted through EU health policy. The EU Platform for action on diet, physical activity and health provides a forum for addressing adverse trends.
The EU encourages sport & physical activity.
Doping undermines fair competition, discourages people from playing or following sport, and poses health risks. In this area, the EU cooperates with
EU countries regularly use EU frameworks to discuss anti-doping issues before meeting in more international fora. They cooperate within the EU on issues relating to athletes' rights, doping in recreational sports and doping prevention. Erasmus+ Sport funds doping prevention projects. Employers' organisations and trade unions may use EU social dialogue to address a range of issues, including the fight against doping.
Sport can bridge social divides. It showcases the skills of people living with disability and empowers women and girls, providing opportunities for leadership. EU countries applying for European Social Fund and European Regional Development Fund grants are encouraged to include projects that promote social inclusion through sport. Transnational projects and international events have benefited from funding.
The EU encourages the police and sports authorities to share information on supporters who pose a risk and to back preventive initiatives. The Commission supported the launch of the Football against Racism in Europe (FARE) network and several related projects.
While the EU respects sports organisations' autonomy, it promotes compliance with the following good governance principles:
The Commission encourages employers, athletes and sports workers to shape labour relations through European social dialogue. There are social dialogue committees for professional football and for active leisure.
The EU advocates providing education and vocational or professional training for young sports talents in parallel with the intensive sports training they undergo, to prepare them for dual careers. The EU Guidelines on Dual Careers of Athletes (2012) [569 KB] show how national and EU policies can promote this. Several projects have benefited from EU support.
Manuscript updated in November 2014
This publication is part of the 'European Union explained' series