Other available languages: none
Brussels, 11 July 2007
1) What is the White Paper on Sport?
The White Paper on Sport is the first comprehensive initiative on sport undertaken by the Commission. It aims at:
• encouraging debate on specific problems,
• enhancing the visibility of sport in EU policy-making,
• raising awareness of the needs and specificities of the sector, and
• identifying the appropriate level of further action at EU level.
The White Paper sets out the key ideas and provides the political messages. It is accompanied by several staff working documents:
2) What are the objectives?
To reflect the comprehensive nature of the document, the topics covered have been structured in three parts:
The White Paper has two main aims:
3) How were the opinions of sport organisations taken into account?
Stakeholder consultations have been an essential tool in the process leading to the adoption of the White Paper on Sport. In addition to the formal requirements to consult with relevant actors, the Commission has been able to profit from its large framework for consultation, communication and interaction with Member State Governments, sport organisations, other representatives of civil society, and individual citizens in the field of sport.
The Commission has a long tradition of dialogue with the European sport movement, dating back to 1991 when the first European Sport Forum was organised in Brussels. In 2005, with the then prospect of a direct legal competence for sport in the Constitutional Treaty, it became apparent that the Commission would need to consult with sport stakeholders in such a way as to be prepared for various scenarios in terms of the status which sport could be expected to have at EU level in the future. The Commission informed stakeholders that it would consult with them in order to identify concrete topics of direct practical relevance to stakeholders. This approach was well received by stakeholders and a consultation process was launched under the title: "The EU & Sport: Matching Expectations".
The first consultation conference was organised on 14-15 June 2005, including three workshops on the social function of sport, volunteering in sport and the fight against doping.
The second consultation conference took place in Brussels on 29-30 June 2006, including three workshops on what later became the big themes of the White Paper – the societal function of sport, the economic impact of sport and the governance of sport.
While the big stakeholders conferences included both organised sport and non-traditional sport (lifestyle sport, socio-cultural sport organisations etc.), the Commission also recognised the need to meet at the highest level with European sport federations. Such conferences took place in Brussels in the autumn of 2004, 2005 and 2006.
The conference with sport federations of 2006 under the title “Sport Governance in Europe” focussed exclusively on governance issues. Chaired by Commissioner Figel', the meeting was conceived to provide direct input into the White Paper process.
An on-line consultation was open for all interested organisations and individuals during an 8-week period in February-April 2007 and resulted in 777 contributions.
In addition, a considerable number of bilateral meetings took place with key stakeholders including the International Olympic Committee, the European Olympic Committees and UEFA.
The opinions of sport stakeholders have had considerable influence on the structure and content of the White Paper. In recent week, sport organisations have called the Commission's attention in particular to a number of governance-related issues:
4) Are there financial instruments to support the implementation of the White Paper?
The Community does not have a specific budget line for sport. Possibilities to obtain financial support from the Commission for projects related to sport are therefore limited. However, sport-related projects and actions are sometimes eligible in the framework of existing EU programmes and funds, for example in the areas of education, youth, citizenship, health and equal opportunities, or in relation to such themes under the European Regional Development Fund and the European Social Fund.
In 2004, projects and actions relating to sport and education were financed within the European Year of Education through Sport (EYES 2004).
The White Paper will serve as a basis for mainstreaming sport-related projects into existing EU programmes and funds.
5) What are the next steps?
The White Paper will be transmitted to the European Parliament, the Council, the Committee of the Regions and the European Economic and Social Committee. The Commission will organise a conference to present the White Paper to sport stakeholders in the autumn of 2007. It will also present its findings to EU Sport Ministers.
The Commission will follow up on the initiatives presented in the White Paper on Sport through the implementation of a structured dialogue with sport stakeholders, cooperation with the Member States, and the promotion of social dialogue in the sport sector.
When setting the mandate for the next Inter-Governmental Conference, the European Council agreed in June 2007 that amendments to the EC Treaty should include a reference to sport, based on wording agreed during the 2004 Inter-Governmental Conference. The White Paper will allow the Commission to prepare in a coherent manner for the possible future introduction of an EU competence for sport.
Also see: IP/07/1066