On the 17 May, the 27 EU Ministers of Sport met in the European Council and exchanged on two sport-related trending topics: sport innovation and sport diplomacy.
Innovation was recognised as a driver for almost two-thirds of Europe’s economic growth over the recent decades and, therefore, conclusions on sport innovation were approved by the Council.
Acknowledging the role that sport innovation can play in increasing citizens’ participation in sport and physical activity, in protecting sport integrity, and in tackling match-fixing and doping, the conclusions adopted invite member states to support projects enhancing innovation, as well as good practices, research, and development initiatives in the field of sport innovation.
EU Ministers of Sport recognised the concept of sport diplomacy as part of the diplomatic toolkit of the EU’s global counterparts and, in this regard, the necessity to develop a EU sport diplomacy strategy.
After a word of introduction given by both Thomas Bach, IOC President, and Ms. Maria-Francesca Spatolisano, UN Assistant Secretary General for Policy coordination and interagency affairs, all countries recognised sport as a catalyst for extension of external relations and promotion of European values.
They suggested other key elements that should be included in the future EU sport diplomacy strategy. Among them, Italy, Spain, Poland and Sweden suggested to promote sport diplomacy through the European Sport Model. Furthermore, Luxembourg raised a question about Tokyo 2020 and the possibility for EU Ministers of Sport to attend the event despite the current sanitary conditions. Also, several countries greeted the letter initiated by Finland and signed by the 27 MSs, that was sent to Commissioner Gabriel in January 2021, asking the Commission for a common European approach in the field of Human Rights as part of major sporting events organisation.