Brussels, 10 June 2013
EU and IOC pledge to continue 'special relationship' to promote dialogue in sport
Androulla Vassiliou, the European Commissioner responsible for sport, and Jacques Rogge, President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), met today as part of the Commission's 'structured dialogue' with the sport movement. Both stressed the benefits of their excellent cooperation and agreed on the need to continue such exchanges on an annual basis in future. The IOC President, who was accompanied by Claudia Bokel, Chair of the IOC Athletes’ Commission and Patrick Hickey, President of the European Olympic Committees (EOC), described the meeting with Commissioner Vassiliou as "extremely useful" and welcomed proposals for further concrete forms of cooperation. He said that he was confident his successor would pursue an equally close relationship with the EU and that the Commission could always count on the IOC's support.
Commissioner Vassiliou said: "I am very grateful to Jacques Rogge and the representatives from the international and European Olympic movement for their support over the years. The IOC is a very valuable partner for the EU and establishing an annual dialogue will allow us to build on this special relationship. Meeting on this basis will ensure continuity for the benefit of sport."
The Commissioner and the IOC President discussed the implementation of the current EU Work Plan for Sport (2011-2014) and the priorities of the future Work Plan. Patrick Hickey welcomed the successful cooperation with the EU, including the Expert Groups set up as part of the first Work Plan.
Erasmus for All, the Commission's proposed new EU programme for education, training, youth and sport, will fund initiatives at the grass-roots level of sport. EOC President Hickey noted that this funding programme was "historic".
IOC President Rogge and Commissioner Vassiliou also exchanged views about the organisation of a European Week of Sport, scheduled for 2015, to boost participation in sport at all levels and encourage people to become more active. Mr Rogge suggested that the event should build on existing initiatives, such as the Olympic Day, celebrated by the Olympic Movement each year on 23 June. "Everything that helps to get people physically active should be supported," he commented. Both agreed to work together closely on the initiative and to seek the support and commitment of all relevant stakeholders.
Other topics discussed at the meeting included athletes' representation and participation in the EU structured dialogue on sport, and Claudia Bokel took the opportunity to explain the role and activities of the IOC’s and other Olympic Movement Athletes’ Commissions. The EU's funding of the European Youth Olympic Festivals, the fight against doping and match fixing, as well as 'dual careers' which aim to encourage athletes to continue their education alongside their sporting careers, were also on the agenda.
The Commissioner also informed the President about a proposal for a Council Recommendation on health-enhancing physical activity (HEPA), due to be unveiled later this year, and invited the IOC to the EU Conference on Gender Equality and Sport, which will take place in Vilnius on 3-4 December.
It is the second time that Commissioner Vassiliou and IOC President Rogge have met in the framework of the structured dialogue on sport. Jacques Rogge has served as the President of the IOC since 2001. His successor will be elected at the 125th IOC gathering in Buenos Aires this September.
The Commission's structured dialogue with the sport movement was set up in 2007, to prepare for the EU's new responsibility in the area of sport under the Lisbon Treaty (Art. 165). Every year the Commission organises an EU Sport Forum which provides an opportunity for representatives of sporting bodies to exchange views on topical issues. The next Forum will take place in Vilnius on 30 September-1 October. The Commission's dialogue with the sport movement is also maintained through bilateral meetings, conferences and seminars. Regular exchanges with the Olympic movement also take place with representatives from the IOC and European Olympic Committees, in particular through their representation in Brussels.
The first EU Work Plan for Sport 2011-2014 is being implemented with the support of six Expert Groups set up by the Council in the areas anti-doping, good governance in sport, education and training, sport, health and participation, sport statistics, and sustainable financing of sport. Sport stakeholders can request observer status in these groups. By the end of 2013, the Commission will present proposals for future priorities for the new Work Plan, to be adopted under the Greek Presidency in May 2014.
The negotiations on the Erasmus for All are still on-going: the Commission has proposed funding for sport totalling nearly €240 million in 2014-2020. The final amount will depend on the outcome of the negotiations on the overall EU budget expected. In the past four years the EU has allocated more than €30 million for transnational sport projects and special annual events.
For more information
European Commission: Sport
Follow Androulla Vassiliou on Twitter @VassiliouEU