Tibor Navracsics – Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport
Milan, EU Sport Forum
Dear Mr Fisas,
Dear Mr Rombouts,
Dear Mr Hickey,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
This EU Sport Forum is an excellent opportunity for me to discuss the new policy framework for sport and to share with you my ideas on what I would like us to achieve in the coming five years.
We have already come a long way, and I want to pay tribute to the work of my predecessor, Androulla Vassiliou, in this field.
Sport became an EU competence with the Lisbon Treaty at the end of 2009. Ensuing initiatives, such as the 2011 Communication on sport, have helped to shape the EU policy agenda.
We have put in place good structures for cooperation with the Member States and established a structured dialogue with the sport movement.
Since 2011, the priorities for the EU sport agenda have been laid down in the multi-annual EU Work Plan for Sport. I think we all agree that the implementation of this first EU work plan was a success, and the second one, centred on the integrity of sport, the economic dimension of sport and on the relationship between sport and society, is set and ready to be filled with life.
We are making progress in tackling important threats to sport, such as match-fixing and doping. As regards the latter, for example, the new World Anti-Doping Code, which benefited from significant European input, will enter into force in a few weeks from now.
Meanwhile, the new Erasmus+: Sport programme provides a stable financing framework that supports our policy agenda.
All of this gives us an excellent basis on which to build over the coming five years. As Commissioner for sport, I want to focus on three priorities.
First, I want to promote the grassroots dimension of sport. This is an issue close to my heart. Sport brings joy into our lives. Practicing sport will help us to lead healthier lives, but most importantly, sport helps to build communities. It brings together people of different ages, nationalities and social backgrounds. This is something we should cherish, protect and support.
Second, I want to tackle the big threats to sport. The threats that challenge its very essence and its place and acceptance in society – from racism to match-fixing, corruption and to violence. Sport is run by its organisations, and that is the way it should be. But it depends on citizens' trust. I am ready to work with the sport family, Member States, as well as actors at regional and local level, to ensure that its integrity is restored and protected.
Third, I want to raise awareness of how much the sport sector contributes to growth, innovation and job creation. And I want to ensure that the European Commission as well as Member States recognise and use its potential to give a boost to Europe's economy. I am very grateful to the Italian Presidency for highlighting the role of sport as a driver for growth and innovation. We need to build on this to ensure sport plays its full role in helping to revive economic growth.
I cannot do all of this alone. I am counting on your support, your ideas, your experiences and your knowledge. That is why I want to have a constant and open dialogue with you and all the members of the sports family.
One of the projects for which I call on your support is the first European Week of Sport to be held in September 2015. This can be a powerful tool to promote participation in sport and physical activity. I am very pleased that, later today, I will be signing partnership agreements with a number of organisations which will support the Week of Sport with a series of sporting events all over the EU.
It is my pleasure to now open the panel debate. I am looking forward to discussing these issues with representatives from other EU institutions and the Olympic movement.