Brussels, 11 July 2007
The European Commission adopted today its first comprehensive initiative on sport. The White Paper aims at providing strategic orientation on the role of sport in the EU. It recognises the important social and economic roles of sport while respecting the requirements of EU law. The White Paper is the result of extensive consultations over the past two years with sport organisations such as the Olympic Committees and sport federations, as well as with Member States and other stakeholders, including an online consultation launched in February this year to which the Commission received 777 replies.
Ján Figel’, European Commissioner in charge of Education, Training, Culture & Youth, including Sport, said: "This White Paper is the Commission's contribution to the European debate on the importance of sport in our daily lives. It enhances the visibility of sport in EU policy-making, raises awareness of the needs and specificities of the sport sector, and identifies appropriate further action at EU level."
The commissioner concluded: "The implementation of the White Paper can help pave the way toward future EU supportive action in the sport sector as the recent European Council has re-opened the possibility of a Treaty provision on sport".
The White Paper on Sport is the first comprehensive initiative on sport by the Commission.
The White Paper respects the principle of subsidiarity, the autonomy of sport organisations and the current EU legal framework. It develops the concept of specificity of sport within the limits of existing EU competences.
The initiative contributes to legal clarity for stakeholders. For the first time, the Commission takes stock of ECJ case law and Commission decisions in the area of sport.
The White Paper also proposes concrete actions in a detailed Action Plan called after Pierre de Coubertin. The Action Plan addresses in particular societal and economic aspects of sport, such as public health, education, social inclusion, volunteering, external relations and the financing of sport.
A structured dialogue is foreseen with sport organisations such as European sport federations, European and national umbrella organisations such as the European and national Olympic Committees, and European non-governmental sport organisations.
The White Paper will guide the Commission in its sport-related activities in the coming years. The proposals included in the Action Plan include notably:
The White Paper on Sport will now be transmitted to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions and its findings will be presented to EU Sport Ministers.
In October, the Commission will organise a conference to discuss the White
Paper with sport stakeholders.
See also: MEMO/07/290.