Brussels, 11 June 2014
Vassiliou unveils plans for First European Week of Sport
Androulla Vassiliou, the European Commissioner responsible for sport, announced plans today for the first European Week of Sport, which will take place in September 2015. The aim of the event is to promote exercise and sport at all levels. The latest Eurobarometer survey on sport and physical activity showed that almost 60% of European Union citizens never or seldom exercise or play sport. The European Commission is expected to provide funding for European Week of Sport from Erasmus+, the new European programme for education, training, youth and sport.
Commissioner Vassiliou commented: "I am very pleased that our plans for the European Week of Sport are well on track. The results of the Eurobarometer survey highlight the need for measures to persuade everybody to get off the couch and make sport and exercise part of their daily lives. This is crucial, not only in terms of health and wellbeing, but also because of the significant economic costs which result from physical inactivity."
The Commission will coordinate events and activities throughout Europe during the Week. Organisations signing up to its objectives will receive guidance from the Commission and a European Week of Sport label.
The Commission will also encourage national awareness-raising activities. While conscious that no one size fits all and that national traditions and sport structures must be respected, the Commissioner underlined the need for Member States to fully involve regional and local stakeholders in the organisation of the events.
"This is vital to the success of the European Week of Sport," she said. "Our aim is for a great Europe-wide experience which will help people change their lifestyles, while having fun at the same time."
The idea to establish a European Week of Sport originated in the European Parliament as part of the 2012 Fisas Report, named after its author, the Spanish MEP Santiago Fisas. In the same year, Member States called on the European Commission to consider establishing a European Week of Sport to promote physical activity and participation in sport at all levels. The Commission then embarked on extensive consultations with Member States and sport organisations to learn from existing initiatives and to ensure full support for the initiative.
Erasmus+ includes, for the first time, a dedicated budget line for sport. It will allocate around €265 million over seven years to contribute to developing the European dimension in sport by helping to address cross-border threats such as match fixing and doping. It will also support transnational projects involving organisations in grassroots sport, promoting, for example, good governance, social inclusion, gender equality, dual careers and physical activity for all.
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