On 30 January, the European Commission, together with its Executive Agency EACEA, welcomed more than 500 participants, including representatives of several European federations and National Olympic Committees, to its biggest annual event dedicated to the Erasmus+ Sport Programme. Like all its previous editions, the 7th Info Day served two main purposes: to inform potential applicants about the various facets of the Erasmus+ Sport Programme and its application process, as well as to create space for networking and partner search. All of these purposes have been met.
While the representatives of the European Commission and Croatian Council Presidency outlined the sport policy context of the call for proposals, experts from the Executive Agency focused on practical matters such as the application and selection process for the current call for proposals (deadline 2 April 2020). The afternoon programme was then dedicated to a more in-depth discussion of the evaluation process, financial and funding rules, and small collaborative partnerships.
In her introduction, Mariya Gabriel, European Commissioner for Sport, gave a strong support for the preservation of the European Sport Model: “I believe that the European Sport Model is unique, different from the way sport is organised in USA, Russia or China. In this regard, it is a tool we should promote at international level, a tool that needs to be protected as it is an integral part of our Cultural heritage. We should think together how to value this approach”. In addition she stated, “Sport touches the hearts of European citizens. It addresses the physical but also the mental as a tool for promoting health and well-being. Thanks to its magic, it also touches the hearts and souls of our citizens”.
In the following panel discussion Vuk Karanovic, Development Manager at the European Volleyball Confederation stressed the positive aspects of Erasmus+: “While preparing the application we could not imagine the impact we would have. There was a direct positive impact on the jobs of everyone involved and positive political impact as we could argue that we were funded by the EU.” Addressing other sports federations he said: “Give it a try. It is enriching your work.”
The 2020 call is open until 2 April and has a financial envelop of €57 million. As in the last years, three different types of actions are available: Collaborative Partnerships, Small Collaborative Partnerships, and Not-for-profit European Sport Events. The EOC EU Office encourages the sport movement to make better use of those funding possibilities and provides support and advice to the partners during the application process.
This year’s Info Day also served as a “platform” to inform the EU sports world about the new Erasmus Programme 2021-2027. Positively, the budget for the next seven year period will significantly increase. A duplication of the budget looks realistic but even a tripling could be possible, depending on negotiation outcomes between the EU institutions. Moreover, the mobility part in sport will be decentralised and be taken care of by the national agencies.